- African great apes are facing a looming danger due to a devastating human encroachment
- Apes stand to lose over 90 percent of their natural habitats in Africa within the forthcoming decades
- Half of the projected lost territory will be in national parks and other protected areas in Africa
African great apes are facing a looming danger of losing their natural habitats due to a devastating human encroachments to their natural homelands in the continent.
Recent study conducted in the United Kingdom showed that chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas – the human closest biological relatives, are in a great danger to lose over 90 percent of their natural habitats in Africa within the forthcoming decades.
The study that was conducted by John Moores University in Liverpool and was led by Dr. Joana Carvalho and colleagues, had revealed a shocking report on the future of great apes in Africa.
Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos are already listed as endangered and critically endangered wildlife, but the climate change crisis, the destruction of wild areas for minerals, timber, food, and human population growth is on track to decimate their ranges by 2050, the scientists said.
Half of the projected lost territory will be in national parks and other protected areas in Africa, the study shows.
The study used data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s apes database, pegging on species populations, threats and conservation action at hundreds of sites over the past 20 years.
The study then modeled the combined future impacts of global heating, habitat destruction and human population growth.
“Most great ape species prefer lowland habitats, but the climate crisis will make some lowlands hotter, drier and much less suitable. Uplands will become more attractive, assuming the apes can get there, but where there is no high ground, the apes will be left with nowhere to go”, part of the report said.
Some new areas will become climatically suitable for the apes, but the researchers doubt whether they will be able to migrate into those regions on time due to the types of diet and their lower reproduction rate.
Great apes are not very good at migrating to other areas outside their original habitats as compared with other wildlife species, researchers said.