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Conservation biology framework for the release of wild-born orphaned chimpanzees into the Conkouati Reserve, Congo

Tutin, Caroline E. G., Ancrenaz, Marc, Paredes, Jorge, Vacher-Vallas, Myriam, Vidal, Carmen, Goossens, Benoit, Bruford, Michael William and Jamart, Aliette 2001. Conservation biology framework for the release of wild-born orphaned chimpanzees into the Conkouati Reserve, Congo. Conservation Biology 15 (5) , pp. 1247-1257. 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2001.00046.x

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Returning confiscated animals to their native habitats is desirable when it makes a positive contribution to the conservation of the species. Release of captive individuals is complex and controversial, however, particularly when risks are potentially high, as in the case of orphaned apes. We describe the decision-making process that led to the successive release of 20 wild-born orphan chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes troglodytes) into the Conkouati Reserve in the Republic of Congo. Recommendations of the Reintroduction Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission were followed closely. The conservation status, ecology, and behavior of wild chimpanzees; the biological, social, economic and political context of the release site; and the health and genetic status of the candidates for release were all taken into account in the planning and execution of the project. Rigorous post-release monitoring of behavior and health allowed documentation of the outcome. The project was of benefit to the chimpanzees that were released but also brought broad benefits to the site through effective protection from poaching and deforestation, and direct and indirect benefits to local people. The genetic and behavioral diversity of chimpanzees require a variety of conservation strategies to reduce threats and maintain as many viable wild populations as possible.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0888-8892
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 21:39

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