Poachers chase chimpanzees for their flesh, farmers shoot them to protect their crops and a lack of political will mean…
Poachers chase chimpanzees for their flesh, farmers shoot them to protect their crops and a lack of political will mean their habitat is handed over to urban development and forestry
They have their hands full in the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where the record number of orphaned chimpanzees are delivered to their care, victims of the relentless expansion of human activity.
Poachers chase them for their flesh, farmers shoot them to protect their crops and a lack of political will means that more and more of their habitat is handed over to urban development and forestry.
Founder of the foundation Bala Amarasekaran does not
“Over the last 1
0 years, the environment has suffered much depletion as a result of extensive construction of houses, logging and mining with the approval of corrupt politicians and the country’s officials,” he said.
Several species of wildlife around the forest, he had been wiped out.
Chimps’ plight echoes the core message from WWF’s new Living Planet report, released Tuesday: the destruction of planet’s wildlife is mostly down to “ongoing human consumption.”
In the last three months, the Sierra Leone’s sanctuary has received seven orphaned chimpanzees, a record number. But these figures only indicate the true scale of the slaughter, said Amarasekaran.
They estimated that for every chimpanzee they received, up to 10 others could have been killed. In the last three or four months between 70 and 100 chimpanzees could have passed.
“Sometimes they even cry for me”
“Most chimpanzees coming to the sanctuary are less than five years old and would still suck milk from their mothers,” said Mama Posseh Kamara , which serves as surrogate mother to the newly arrived in the sanctuary.
“Many have lost their mothers to crush meat hunters, abandoned or illegally sold as pets,” she explained.
When she spoke she fed milk to one of her new fees, a four month old baby chimpis, as several others climbed over her back and head.
“I’ve been doing this job for the last 14 years,” she said. “They usually see me like their mother because I feed and clean them daily. Sometimes they even cry for me.”
While doing what they can to protect animal habitats, their efforts are often frustrated by local government officials, said Amarasekaran.
“We planted over 4,000 trees around the Freetown National Park,” he said.
“But city planners gave it away for the construction of residential buildings because of lawlessness, greed and corruption.
” The government should stop all human activities around our forests to protect biodiversity. If we continue to drain our environment, there will be nothing left for the future.
Western chimps are the only critically threatened chimpanzee species. They have already been eradicated in Burkina Faso, Benin, Gambia and possibly Togo.
According to American Journal of Primatology killed their population more than 80 percent between 1990 and 2014. And Sierra Leone is home to about 10 percent
And the loss of their natural habitat makes the situation worse.
“Sierra Leone loses a lot of forest protection on due to human activities, “the FAO, Local Representative Nyabenyi Tito Tipo told AFP during his visit to the sanctuary.
” Our forests need protection, regeneration and not depletion, “she added.
But For Papanie Bai Sesay, Biodiversity Officer at Conservation Socie For Sierra Leone, there are two problems with Sierra Leone’s current conservation laws.
“We have obsolete animals let gar, dating as far back as 1978, “he explained.
But the other problem was more fundamental, he
“Our current forest-saving laws and policies are also not enforced by authorities.”
Beran Forster, deputy director of the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency, acknowledges the scale of the problem.
“The major environmental impact in Sierra Leone is human expansion in wilderness areas, forest fires to clear land and hunting wildlife for busk meat,” he said.
“Deforestation through unsustainable logging practices for exporting logs is the worst situation the environment faces”, he added.
In response, they attempted to educate locals about the effects of deforestation and reproductions across the country
International partners, such as The US Embassy in Freetown, also helps.
They finance a farm project to improve the diversity of cultivation in a sustainable way, engaging the local villages near the Tacugama Sanctuary.
But change must come soon, warned the Amarasekaran.
Freetown National Park has a high level of biodiversity: large numbers of species of plant and wildlife including snakes, birds, butterflies, chimpanzees and other monkeys, he said.  But he added: “If we continue to drain our environment, there will be nothing left for the future.”
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