|Date||17 Jan 2004|
Chimpanzees were last recorded in the largest forest patch (Kilum/Ijim forest 17,750hectares) in the Bamenda Highlands in 1983 and had been thought to be locally extinct. Recently however, chimpanzees were recorded in different forest patches that had never been surveyed for mammals in the Bamenda Highlands. The "complete sweep across" method will be utilized in the forest patches because of the small sizes of the forest patches and the anticipated lowdensity of great apes in the Bamenda Highlands. The dung size classes for gorillas established by Schaller (1963) and used by other researchers will be used in this study.
The two-step method described by Nsubuga et al (2004) will be used in the collection and storage of samples (faeces) for genetic analysis. Individual chimpanzees/gorillas will be characterized using microsatellite markers known to be highly variable in chimpanzee and gorilla communities from across Africa. The effectiveness of this set of markers to distinguish individuals will be assessed by computing the probability of identity (P(I), the probability of obtaining identical multilocus genotypes for random unrelated individuals. Genetic differentiation among local populations will be measured by estimators of Fst and will be tested for significance using the program GENEPOP and ARLEQUIN.
A questionnaire survey will be used to study community attitudes to forest, wildlife and chimpanzee/gorillas. This study will provide the local people and the Government of Cameroon with estimates of population abundances of the chimpanzees/gorillas which will help them in planning conservation activities, assessing the degree of endangerment, threats and pressure faced by the chimpanzees/gorillas and in identifying areas with high priority for conservation attention.
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