Chimpanzee Abundance and Habitat Connectivity
While long-term studies of chimpanzees in Gombe and Mahale Mountains National Park led by pioneers in the field, Jane Goodall and Toshisada Nishida, respectively, have provided invaluable data on chimpanzee behaviour, chimpanzees are distributed across western Tanzania and little is known about extra-park chimpanzee abundance and distribution. With a growing human population and expanding human settlements across the region, conservation practitioners and stakeholders need to have the most current information on where chimpanzees and their habitat are located. Moreover, knowing critical areas of habitat connectivity can inform conservation priorities to protect current and future linkages between populations.
Noemie Bonnin has been spearheading this work, looking first into habitat connectivity using circuit theory (see here), before Dr. Joana Carvalho used density distribution modelling to model temporal changes in chimpanzee abundance over the near decade of survey work between 2011-2021, recently published here. Further work integrating genetic markers of gene flow and (genetic) population connectivity is due out early in 2023! More soon!