Annual Report 2019 Activities of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation for improved conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat in West Africa

Biomonitoring and law enforcement in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex
In 2019, a biomonitoring survey focused on the proposed conservation corridor between GreboKrahn National Park (GKNP) and Sapo National Park (SNP) and revealed a high hunting pressure and a possible decrease of the chimpanzee population by 22.5%.
In Taї National Park (TNP) and GKNP, a new approach of biomonitoring was developed in 2019 and data collection will continue in 2020. This method uses camera traps for TNP, and a combination of line transects and camera traps for GKNP. Preliminary results from TNP identified 71 animal species including 46 mammals. The anti-poaching program in the research and ecotourism area in TNP revealed this year the lowest encounter rate of illegal activities (0.47 signs/km) since 2008, after 12 years of data collection.

In 2019, eco-guards pursued data collection in Cavally Classified Forest. The deforestation rate slowed down this year compared to 2017 and 2018. This is positive, but not enough to ensure the preservation of the forest. Additional government efforts are required in 2020 to stop deforestation for the sake of cocoa farming.

In 2019, a documentary on WCF’s Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) on the deforestation issues in the Cavally Classified Forest has been broadcasted in January 2020. The 8th IFM report and analyses of the evolution of the number of offences detected in the Cavally Classified Forest highlight an important decrease in the number of the most frequent offences between 2012 and 2018, demonstrating the importance of independent monitoring. WCF is leading a civil society initiative consisting in developing synergies with actors from the private and public sectors involved in the enforcement of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).

WCF has participated with a local NGO called NOFNA in several surveys on bush-meat, cocoa trafficking, and corruption. The denunciation of these traffics weakened the illegal activities, because the authorities reacted regularly to these denunciations.

Awareness raising campaigns in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex
In 2019, 13,244 persons in Liberia and 18,777 in Côte d’Ivoire assisted the WCF awareness activities in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex, implemented by the eco-guards and Community Watch Teams (CWT). In Côte d’Ivoire, the Taï eco-museum attracted 994 visitors.
WCF initiated a survey in 15 villages neighboring TNP to assess the impact of the theater performances in 2019 on the perception of the local population. 607 people were interviewed and the interviewees who had seen the play said to better understand the role of OIPR and the benefits they have from the park. They were more willing to help protect the park (81.33%), than those who did not see the play (51.65%).