The Impact Roads Have on Chimpanzees can be Harmful

The+Impact+Roads+Have+on+Chimpanzees+can+be+Harmful

Recent studies have shown that roads have been endangering Chimpanzees along with their homes. 

“When roads are built, they take away habitat from wildlife in the area. Animals are forced to move to find new homes—and sometimes the impact is far-reaching.” according to Treeguger.com.

Roads can also restrict chimpanzee movements, dividing populations and causing genetic isolation. Hunting is a persistent threat to western chimpanzees, and roads provide easier access for hunters. 

Regulations in many countries require that wildlife should be considered before new roads are built, but until now the size of the impact area affecting chimpanzees had not been estimated. 

A new study found that the negative effect of roads on wild chimpanzees can extend for more than 17 kilometers (10-plus miles). Researchers investigated how roads of all types had an impact on the population of wild western chimpanzees in the eight African countries where the animals live.

The areas in the study were identified as “road-effect zones” (REZ). Less than 5% of the western chimpanzee’s range is outside of these zones. 

Researchers hope their findings will help to bring about more effective guidelines to mitigate road impacts. “This is the first time this analytical approach has been used to understand the impact of roads on nonhuman primates, and the results are shocking,” said Dr. Kimberley Hockings, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“The human population in West Africa is growing rapidly, and chimpanzees face mounting pressure from the expansion of settlements and infrastructure. “Previous research suggests that roads dramatically reduce western chimpanzee numbers, rather than simply displacing the animal.” The human population in West Africa is growing rapidly, and chimpanzees face mounting pressure from the expansion of settlements and infrastructure. 

“Previous research suggests that roads dramatically reduce western chimpanzee numbers, rather than simply displacing the animals.”Just 4.3% of their range remains unaffected by roads, so they don’t have anywhere else to go, and in any case migration over long distances is uncommon. 

The researchers hope their findings will help to bring about more effective guidelines to mitigate road impacts.”This is the first time this analytical approach has been used to understand the impact of roads on nonhuman primates, and the results are shocking,” said Dr. Kimberley Hockings, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall. “We hope these findings will ensure the true costs of infrastructure development on the critically endangered western chimpanzee are fully considered by policy makers.” 

To learn more about the impact roads have on chimpanzees visit treehugger Conservation Letters or sciencedaily.com.