The Gashaka Primate Project


A Treasure of West-Africa

West-Africa is increasingly recognized as a bio-diversity hotspot. However, widespread destruction has left only a few areas relatively intact. One of them is Gashaka-Gumti, Nigeria's largest National Park, covering nearly 7000 sq km. This area is important not only as a major watershed but also as a haven for a rich and exotic assemblage of wildlife, given its strategic location at the interface between the moist Cameroonian highland and the dry sub-Saharan Guinea savannah.

The Northern Gumti sector is flat and home to large savannah animals such as elephant, hyena, wild dog, lion, roan antelope and the giant eland.

The Southern Gashaka sector is a mosaic of woodland, lowland & gallery forest, grassland and montane forest - and includes Nigeria’s highest peaks at Chappal Waddi - the “Mountain of Death”.

Fauna at Gashaka

A Fragile Paradise: Biodiversity Under Threat

Ethnic Composition

The Muslim food taboo of not eating pigs or primates is a good starting point for conservation…

Last Resort for a Flagship Species: The Nigerian Chimpanzee

The “Nigeria-Cameroonian chimpanzee” (Pan troglodytes vellerosus aka ellioti) represents a subspecies that has only recently been recognized and is the genetically most distinct. Our extensive habitat surveys and models based on intake rates into primate sanctuaries, reveal that these apes might be extinct in as little as two decades… Their historic range stretched from the rivers Benue and Niger to the Sanaga river in Cameroon. This fourth chimpanzee subspecies has a good prospect of long-term survival in only 800 square kilometres of remaining forest - in the heart of Gashaka-Gumti National Park.

Satellite imagery reveals the extent of remaining chimpanzee habitat amidst eroded and cleared areas. Stars indicate location of project field stations.