Visitors to Tacugama often ask how many wild chimpanzees there are in Sierra Leone. The honest answer is that nobody knows!
The last formal estimate was made in 1981 by Teleki and Baldwin who concluded that around 2,000 wild chimpanzees remained in the wild. Twenty-eight years have passed since that estimate was made and it has become increasingly urgent to determine a more accurate number. Chimpanzee habitat here is continuing to be reduced as a result of encroachment through logging and much other human activity. (For more information see our previous census blog entry)
With support from PASA in April 2008 we prepared a proposal for the census, gained approval from the Government of Sierra Leone and started to actively fundraise for the census project. It will cost at least US$220,000 to complete the project, to date we have received donations and pledges totalling $175,000.We expect to complete the fieldwork by the end of 2009. The data generated by this thorough scientific research project will finally enable us to provide an answer to the question of “how many wild chimpanzees there are in Sierra Leone?”
Lookout for the census results which are due very soon!