Tanzania: Expert Warns Against Depletion of Chimpanzees

A British primatologist has raised concern about ongoing human-driven and natural loss of trees, saying it could potentially deplete the number of chimpanzees in Tanzania.

Speaking in Arusha yesterday, Dr Jane Goodall warned if the loss of trees was not checked it would adversely impact on chimpanzees in forests and Savannah's of tropical Africa.

In an interview with 'Daily News', the ethnologist and anthropologist said a high level of deforestation taking place in the country could wipe out the chimpanzees' population.

"Apparently, chimpanzees are not hunted for bush meat in Tanzania unlike it is the case in West Africa. However, cutting trees haphazardly is detrimental to their survival," explained .

Dr Goodall, who is also a recipient of the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire honour. Dr Goodall, who has spent 58 years studying and interact ing with chimpanzees, noted that only two chimpanzees had been killed for bush meat in Gombe National Park in 60 years.

However, he warned that human activities endangered chimpanzee species, forcing them to encroach on human settlements for their survival.

"The apes, which are no longer found in protected areas like Gombe and Mahale, have now moved to villages," she said.

According to Dr Goodall, although the chimpanzees are known to live in tropical rain forests, they are fast becoming adaptable to new surroundings as a result of deforestation.

Wild chimpanzee conservation in Tanzania has been a longstanding government agenda due to emerging threats that affect chimpanzees' viability in the country.

Currently, chimpanzees' population in the country stands at 2,500, most of which are found outside protected areas that are under constant pressure from surrounding communities to clear forests for farming, charcoal making, establishing new settlements and unsustainable extraction of timber and firewood.

Worried and concerned about their fate, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), placed chimpanzees on its list of endangered species.

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