Great ape ‘forest gardeners of Africa’ benefit from conservation victory

  • Great ape conservation in Africa relies on forest protection, and vice versa.
  • On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we take a look at two stories that illustrate how conservation of Africa’s Great Apes — chimpanzees and gorillas — often goes hand in hand with forest conservation efforts.
  • We welcome to the program Ekwoge Abwe, head of the Ebo Forest Research Project in Cameroon. Abwe tells us the story of how he became the first scientist to discover Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees using tools to crack open nuts and discusses ongoing efforts to safeguard Ebo Forest against the threats of oil palm expansion and logging.
  • We also speak with Alex Chepstow-Lusty, an associate researcher at Cambridge University who shares how chimpanzees were among the seed-dispersing species that helped central Africa’s rainforests regenerate after they collapsed some 2,500 years ago.

On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we’re discussing great ape conservation in Africa and how that goes hand-in-hand with efforts to protect the second-largest rainforest in the world.

Listen here:

We welcome to the program Ekwoge Abwe, head of the Ebo Forest Research Project in Cameroon. Abwe tells us the story of how he became the first scientist to discover Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees using tools to crack open nuts and discusses ongoing efforts to safeguard Ebo Forest against the threats of oil palm expansion and logging.

The Cameroon government recently announced and then suspended plans to create a logging concession in Ebo Forest, which, in addition to tool-weilding chimpanzees, is also home to a small group of gorillas that were only discovered in 2002 and first caught on film in 2016.

We also speak with Alex Chepstow-Lusty, an associate researcher at Cambridge University who is here to tell us about how chimpanzees were among the seed-dispersing species that helped Africa’s rainforests regenerate after they collapsed some 2,500 years ago, and why that makes chimps important to the health of forests today and in the future, as well.

Seed dispersal by animals is called zoochory — check out Mongabay’s zoochory explainer video for more:

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Chimpanzees. Photo by Mark, Vicki, Ellaura and Mason, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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This story first appeared on Mongabay

South Africa Today – Environment


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