GABON

Monday 30 June 1997

-- A savage territorial has been sparked off between chimpanzees in the tropical forests of this central African country. Apparently, logging in Gabon's forested area, is responsible for this incident, informed Lee White, a field biologist for one Wildlife Conservation society recently. Gabon, which has an estimated 50,000 chimpanzees, has until recently, accounted for a third to a half of the total African chimpanzee population estimated at 100,000 to 150,000. The recent chimpanzee wars have reduced population to about 30,000 and there is wide- spread apprehension that it will further fall to 10,000 if most of the country's forest areas are logged, said White.

This has, however, come as a surprise because logging is done selectively in Gabon with an aim to minimise damage to habitats of chimpanzees and other animals. White opines that as mechanised logging operations advance on a continuous front 4.8 km to 9.65 kin wide, their approach frightens the chimpanzees who are not used to humans and have never encountered big noisy machines before. As a result, they flee right into the territory of the next chimp community, thus spurring a warfare.

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