Gashaka Gumpti National Park
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Gashaka-Gumti is located at 06°55'-08°13' N and 11°13'-12°11' E. GGNP was gazetted from two game reserves in 1991 and is Nigeria’s largest national park. The total area covers about 6402 km², much of the northern GGNP is savannah. The southern GGNP sector of the park has rugged terrain from about 300 m up to 2.419 m at Chappal Waddi, Nigeria’s highest mountain. It is an important water catchment area for the Benue River. Abundant river flow continuously, even throughout the markedly dry season. The park area around the village of Gashaka-Gumti in southern Taraba state harbors a great diversity of wildlife (Sommer et al. 2004).
In 1997 Gonder did encounter chimps in the National Park. Chimpanzees mostly use gallery forests and patches of montane forest in the park. Possibly less than half of the park could be regarded as potential chimpanzee habitat. It is probably the only region where a sizable population of P. t. vellerosus has long-term prospect of survival (Sommer et al. 2004). Gashaka-Gumti is estimated to contain up to 1.500 chimpanzees (Kormos et al. 2003).
Human population in the park has declined over the last decade, due to relocation and migration towards more easily accessible areas. The Gashaka-Kwano area is not a pristine forest but experienced anthropogenic influence throughout centuries. Most notable is the deliberate yearly burning of grass by locals and park authorities which likely turned large parts of previous semi-deciduous forest into grassy woodland. Large-scale logging does not exist, although some timber and non-timber forest products are extracted. Monkeys and chimpanzees are not hunted in the GGNP, because of religious taboos connected with Islam (Sommer et al. 2004). Primates will not react discernibly if a gun is pointed at them, indicating that they have not been hunted for a long time (Dunn 1993). Primates are poached in other parts of the park, particularly near Cameroonian border, typically as part of trade in bushmeat by non-indigenous hunters.
|Major Threats||Taï NP|
Table 1: Threats to chimpanzee in Gashaka-Gumti National Park
The Gashaka Primate Project was established in 1999 with the aims of understanding how environmental factors influence the structure of primate societies and contributing to primate conservation. The Gashaka Primate Project works with students and researchers from Africa and western countries and is logistically supported by GGNP and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. A research station is available in Gashaka, a village of about 600 people on the edge of the park. The major study site is inside the park, a field station was erected in 2001 (Kwano). The Gashaka-Kwano area is not a pristine forest but experienced anthropogenic influence throughout centuries. All hunting is prohibited in GGNP although primates are illegally hunted.
- Sommer, V., Adanu, J., Faucher, I. and Fowler, A. (2004). Nigerian Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes vellerosus) at Gashaka: Two Years of Habituation Efforts. Folia Primatol, 75: 295-316.
- Dunn, A. (1993).The Large Mammals of Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria: Line Transect Surveys from Forest and Savannah. Unpubl. Report.
- Gonder, K., Oates, J., Disotell, T., Forstner, M., Morales, J. and Melnick, D. (1997). A new West African chimpanzee subspecies?. Nature, 388: 337-337.
- Kormos, R., Boesch, C., Bakarr, M.-I. and Butynski, T.-M. (2004). Chimpanzes d’Afrique de I’Quest. Union mondiale pour la nature.
- Fowler, A. (2006). Nest-building ecology of chimpanzees at Gashaka-Gumti, Nigeria. PhD thesis.