Acoustic Monitoring in the Yoko Landscape to Determine Chimpanzee Status

26 May 2023 Yoko Council Forest, Cameroon, Africa Mammals | Primates

Estherbel Bih Neba

Applying PAM for primates, contributes to the research on automated biomonitoring techniques in hopes of improving the limited temporal and spatial scope of existing methods.

The presence of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in the Yoko Council Forest has been a rediscovery of this population. This species is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list. More research is necessary to determine its actual status in this conservation zone. We have limited knowledge of the current population status of this species, and this has hindered its study and the development of specific actions for its conservation. This project will use acoustic recorders alongside reconnaissance walks to evaluate the current status of this species, determine threats on the species and make recommendations to wildlife managers and decision makers for the effective conservation of this species.

Local guide manipulating SWIFT Betta Recorder. © DR Alain Wandji

Local guide manipulating SWIFT Betta Recorder. © DR Alain Wandji

We will use the SWIFT BETTA recorders 13_0_4 (Wrege et al., 2017) installed in predesigned grids (2 km x 2 km) in areas of high Chimpanzee nest density in the Yoko Council Forest. Four recording intervals will be set on all eleven acoustic recording units. Each recording interval lasts an hour. All recorders will be suspended 5-7 m above the ground from tree branches. From each recorded sound, a spectrogram will be established using Fourier analysis (Browning et al., 2017) as well as the software Raven Pro 2 in order to characterize the soundscape. This includes the wildlife species (biophony) and the human activities (anthropogeny) (Pijanowski et al., 2011). All statistical tests will be performed using the R core team, 2019 (version 3.6.1.), with an experiment-wise error rate of 5%. General linear models will be used to assess the rate of illegal gun shot during the day and night, and how anthropogenic activities may be influenced by the permanent presence of rangers and researchers in the study area.

This project is expected to provide baseline data for other research on acoustic monitoring of Chimpanzees for environmental conservation in Cameroon.

Header: Building capacity of local guides on the use of SWIFT Betta recorders.

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