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Yaoundé, Cameroon

Whytock R.C.,Ebo Forest Research Project | Whytock R.C.,University of Stirling | Buij R.,Wageningen University | Virani M.Z.,Peregrine Fund | Morgan B.J.,Institute for Conservation Research
ORYX | Year: 2016

The commercial bushmeat trade threatens numerous species in the forests of West and Central Africa. Hunters shoot and trap animals, which are transported to rural and urban markets for sale. Village-based surveys of hunter offtake and surveys of bushmeat markets have shown that mammals and reptiles are affected most, followed by birds. However, hunters also consume some animals in forest camps and these may have been overlooked in surveys that have focused on bushmeat extracted from the forest. A number of studies have used indirect methods, such as hunter diaries, to quantify this additional offtake but results can be difficult to verify. We examined discarded animal remains at 13 semi-permanent hunting camps in the Ebo Forest, Cameroon, over 272 days. Twenty-one species were identified from 49 carcasses, of which birds constituted 55%, mammals 43% and other taxa 2%. The mammals identified were typical of those recorded in previous bushmeat studies but we recorded several species of birds rarely recorded elsewhere. Offtake of bird species increased with mean body mass. We extrapolated our results to the 34 known hunting camps in the Ebo Forest and estimated that a minimum of 97 birds are hunted annually in a catchment area of c. 479 km2. We conclude that some bird species may be hunted more frequently than previous research suggests and this has important conservation implications for larger-bodied species such as raptors and hornbills. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2014. Source

Morgan B.J.,Institute for Conservation Research | Morgan B.J.,University of Stirling | Morgan B.J.,Ebo Forest Research Project | Abwe E.E.,Ebo Forest Research Project | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2013

The populations of many endangered species are becoming increasingly fragmented, and accurate, current information on the status of these subpopulations is essential for the design of effective conservation strategies within a human-dominated landscape. The drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is one of the most spectacular and endangered primates in Africa, yet up-to-date information on its distribution, population status, and conservation outlook is lacking. Cameroon has been estimated to encompass 80 % of the species' range. We examined the distribution, population status, and conservation outlook for the drill throughout its historic range in Cameroon. To do this, we divided the historic range of the drill in Cameroon (46,000 km2) into 52 survey units along natural and manmade boundary features. Based on a series of field surveys in 2002-2009, village interviews, analysis of geospatial data, and bibliographical research, we assigned each survey unit a rank of 0-4 for 15 parameters indicative of current situation for drills, habitat suitability, and conservation outlook. We obtained direct evidence for the presence of drills in 16 of the 52 survey units, with those of Ejagham, Korup, Ebo, and Nta Ali receiving the highest index scores. We warn of local extirpations and increased isolation among drill populations due to loss of dispersal corridors, e. g., Douala Edea survey unit. In some cases drills persist in forest fragments within human-dominated landscapes, e. g., Kupe-Manenguba, but the species' future is probably dependent on effective wildlife management in a handful of isolated strongholds where probability of long-term protection is higher, particularly in Korup National Park, Takamanda National Park, and the proposed Ebo National Park. Pressure from current and proposed large-scale commercial plantations, oil prospecting, logging, and the continual human population growth in this region means that a concerted conservation effort will be needed to safeguard the remaining drill habitat if the species is to survive in Cameroon. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Morgan B.J.,Institute for Conservation Research | Morgan B.J.,University of Stirling | Morgan B.J.,Ebo Forest Research Project | Suh J.N.,Ebo Forest Research Project | Abwe E.E.,Ebo Forest Research Project
Folia Primatologica | Year: 2012

We describe the first observation of a predation attempt by Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti) on Preuss's red colobus (Procolobus preussi) in the Ebo forest, Cameroon. The activity, which was observed for 15 min, primarily involved 1 chimpanzee and 1 red colobus individual, with a further 2 chimpanzees observing the event. Although the behaviour was interrupted when we were detected by the chimpanzees, we believe that this is the first recorded observation of hunting behaviour in Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel. Source

Sesink Clee P.R.,Drexel University | Sesink Clee P.R.,Albany State University | Abwe E.E.,Institute for Conservation Research | Abwe E.E.,Ebo Forest Research Project | And 16 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2015

Background: The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) is found in the Gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot located in western equatorial Africa. This subspecies is threatened by habitat fragmentation due to logging and agricultural development, hunting for the bushmeat trade, and possibly climate change. Although P. t. ellioti appears to be geographically separated from the neighboring central chimpanzee (P. t. troglodytes) by the Sanaga River, recent population genetics studies of chimpanzees from across this region suggest that additional factors may also be important in their separation. The main aims of this study were: 1) to model the distribution of suitable habitat for P. t. ellioti across Cameroon and Nigeria, and P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon, 2) to determine which environmental factors best predict their optimal habitats, and 3) to compare modeled niches and test for their levels of divergence from one another. A final aim of this study was to examine the ways that climate change might impact suitable chimpanzee habitat across the region under various scenarios. Results: Ecological niche models (ENMs) were created using the software package Maxent for the three populations of chimpanzees that have been inferred to exist in Cameroon and eastern Nigeria: (i) P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon, (ii) P. t. ellioti in northwestern Cameroon, and (iii) P. t. ellioti in central Cameroon. ENMs for each population were compared using the niche comparison test in ENMtools, which revealed complete niche divergence with very little geographic overlap of suitable habitat between populations. Conclusions: These findings suggest that a positive relationship may exist between environmental variation and the partitioning of genetic variation found in chimpanzees across this region. ENMs for each population were also projected under three different climate change scenarios for years 2020, 2050, and 2080. Suitable habitat of P. t. ellioti in northwest Cameroon / eastern Nigeria is expected to remain largely unchanged through 2080 in all considered scenarios. In contrast, P. t. ellioti in central Cameroon, which represents half of the population of this subspecies, is expected to experience drastic reductions in its ecotone habitat over the coming century. © 2015 Sesink Clee et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Source

Mitchell M.W.,Drexel University | Mitchell M.W.,Albany State University | Locatelli S.,Albany State University | Locatelli S.,Montpellier University | And 19 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2015

Background: Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can be divided into four subspecies. Substantial phylogenetic evidence suggests that these subspecies can be grouped into two distinct lineages: A western African group that includes P. t. verus and P. t. ellioti and a central/eastern African group that includes P. t. troglodytes and P. t. schweinfurthii. The geographic division of these two lineages occurs in Cameroon, where the rages of P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes appear to converge at the Sanaga River. Remarkably, few population genetic studies have included wild chimpanzees from this region. Results: We analyzed microsatellite genotypes of 187 wild, unrelated chimpanzees, and mitochondrial control region sequencing data from 604 chimpanzees. We found that chimpanzees in Cameroon and eastern Nigeria comprise at least two, and likely three populations. Both the mtDNA and microsatellite data suggest that there is a primary separation of P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon from P. t. ellioti north and west of the Sanaga River. These two populations split ~200-250 thousand years ago (kya), but have exchanged one migrant per generation since separating. In addition, P. t. ellioti consists of two populations that split from one another ~4 kya. One population is located in the rainforests of western Cameroon and eastern Nigeria, whereas the second population appears to be confined to a savannah-woodland mosaic in central Cameroon. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there are as many as three genetically distinct populations of chimpanzees in Cameroon and eastern Nigeria. P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon comprises one population that is separated from two populations of P. t. ellioti in western and central Cameroon, respectively. P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes appear to be characterized by a pattern of isolation-with-migration, and thus, we propose that neutral processes alone can not explain the differentiation of P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes. © 2015 Mitchell et al. Source

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