Communities saving chimpanzees in Guinea

The team at David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) would like to thank the Turing Foundation for supporting our ground-based conservation partners in Guinea working to protect a critical population of West African chimpanzees.

The Turing Foundation is helping to turn the tide on extinction for these intelligent great apes by supporting sustainable livelihood projects neighbouring the High Niger National Park. By providing a sustainable source of income to local communities, there is less need for them to participate in activities which are detrimental to wildlife populations.

High Niger National Park is home to an estimated 500 chimpanzees, making it one of seven top priority sites for chimpanzee conservation in West Africa.

Threats to Guinea’s western chimpanzees

Rapid population growth is threatening the chimps of High Niger National Park as pressures such as slash-and-burn agriculture, uncontrolled bushfires, cattle grazing, poaching, illegal logging, and gold mining activities move into the park’s protected boundaries.

Sadly, this keystone species is under threat and is now listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List. Between 150,000 and 250,000 individual chimpanzees are thought to be left in the wild.

Our ground-based conservation partners, Chimpanzee Conservation Center (CCC), are encouraging harmonious human-wildlife co-existence by engaging with local communities through education alternative livelihood programmes.

DSWF places communities at the heart of our conservation work, without their support the world’s precious wildlife does not stand a chance.

The Sustainable Livelihoods Project

The Turing Foundation has thrown both communities and critical chimpanzee populations a lifeline by funding sustainable livelihood projects neighbouring the High Niger National Park.

Guinea is ranked 174th out of 189 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index, meaning standards of living, education and life expectancy are some of the lowest in the world.

By providing communities contiguous to wildlife habitats with a reliable alternate income, they are less dependent on natural resources and the illegal wildlife trade for their survival which can lead to more harmonious coexistence with the natural world.

Thanks to the Turing Foundation, sustainable community enterprises have been established to increase families’ incomes. These include, soap making, beekeeping, plastic bag upcycling and market gardens which produce fresh vegetables for communities. These grassroots businesses are having a positive impact on the lives of over 400 women.

Wildlife Education

DSWF also continue to engage with local communities and children around the High Niger National Park about the importance of local wildlife and the consequences of wildlife crime.

The educators we support at CCC work with the children of communities living alongside chimpanzees, teaching them the value of the species and the positive impact on the environment to ensure future generations grow up with a positive perception of wildlife and the natural world.

Help High Niger National Park’s chimpanzees Help DSWF educate the next generation of wildlife warriors in Guinea by donating today.

Originally published by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation: Source