Tackling a major threat to this unique population of great apes
Situated in the Lola Prefecture, the Bossou Forest Reserve forms part of the Nimba Mountain World Heritage site. It is surrounded by small hills (70-150 m high) that are covered in primary and secondary forests. Bossou and the surrounding communities provide a rare example of a site where wild chimpanzees and local people have been living side by side in relative harmony for many generations, sharing resources from the same forest. The Bossou Chimpanzees are well known for their incredible use of tools, such as a stone hammer and anvil to crack open palm nuts. However, due to habitat fragmentation, the Bossou Chimpanzee population has been functionally isolated from neighbouring populations in the Nimba Mountain range for several decades and are now at significant risk of going locally extinct.
In an effort to reverse this decline, USAID and the U.S. Forest Service are working closely with the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB), Acteurs pour le Dévéloppement Rurale (AUDER) and surrounding communities, to collaboratively restore a forested corridor to allow chimpanzees to once again migrate and interbreed between the Bossou Hills and the Nimba Mountains.
Activities include growing and planting native trees within the corridor, building local capacity to manage and fight wildfires, developing and implementing an inclusive management plan for the corridor, and engaging surrounding stakeholders to sustainably manage these common resources.