Biosphere reserves and great apes conservation

Author: Michaël Catanzariti
Young Orang-Utan In Bukit Lawang, Gunung Leuser National Parc, Nord Sumatra

Several biosphere reserves across equatorial Africa and south-east Asia are home to chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan. These sites are ‘living laboratories’ to better understand great apes. Studies are underway in different biosphere reserves. One of the most important populations of wild chimpanzees lives in the Taï Biosphere Reserve in Côte d’Ivoire, where zoologists have been studying their behaviour since 1979. Much of what we know today about orangutan toolmaking is from studies in the Tanjung Puting Biosphere Reserve in Indonesia. These studies are combined with a variety of projects to reconcile conservation with the needs of local communities.

Biosphere reserves, home of great apes

Sample of biosphere reserves where great apes can be found:

Dja Biosphere Reserve, Cameroon
The Dja Biosphere Reserve contributes to the sustainable management of great apes, in particular the critically endangered western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and the central chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes).

Taï Biosphere Reserve, Côte d'Ivoire
The Taï Biosphere Reserve represents one of the last remnants of the primary tropical forest of Western Africa and it host one of the most important populations of western chimpanzees.

Odzala Biosphere Reserve, Congo
The northern area of rain forest in the Odzala biosphere reserve contains many clearings that are particularly attractive to large mammals. Odzala has the highest recorded densities of western lowland gorillas (5.4 /km2) and chimpanzees (2.2/ km2) in Central Africa.

Massif du Ziama Biosphere Reserve, Guinea
The Massif du Ziama Biosphere Reserve is located at the border to Liberia in the south-east of Guinea and is house of western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus)

Gunung Leuser Biosphere Reserve, Indonesia
This biosphere reserve and national park covers a vast area of tropical rain forest in northern Sumatra and is one of the two remaining habitats for Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii).

Tanjung Puting Biosphere reserve, Indonesia
The Tanjung Puting National Park was primarily established by the Dutch colonial government for the protection of the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) in the 1930’s.

Volcans Biosphere Reserve, Rwanda
Volcans Biosphere Reserve is located in the Virunga Massif in north-west Rwanda. The area is known for its mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) population.

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