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Title: African Great Apes : assessing threats and conservation efforts
Author: Tranquilli, S.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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In recent decades, many wild animal populations across Africa have been driven towards extinction due to human activities. This is also true for great apes. As our closest extant relatives, these species serve as evolutionary models for an array of traits which might have characterized our last common ancestor and early humans. Furthermore, apes are considered keystone species to local biodiversity. Therefore, their disappearance would cause permanent damage to local ecosystems, and also impede the understanding of our evolutionary origins. Hence, it is crucial to conserve the last remaining wild populations. Against this background this thesis pioneers a large-scale analysis of factors relevant to ape conservation. This is based on the so far most extensive compilation of information on great ape distribution across Africa and examines threat impact and conservation activities inside protected areas. The objective of this study is to evaluate ape population presence and distribution in response to threats over different spatial scales. Furthermore, the study promotes an evidence-based conservation approach, by evaluating benefits and shortcomings of various different conservation efforts and their effects on overall great ape status. The thesis presents three main result sections. First, it provides an overview of threats and their impact level in all areas across the great apes' range. Second, analyses of the effectiveness of conservation efforts demonstrate that long-term presence of law enforcement guards, tourism, research and NGOs are best suited to prevent apes from extinction. Furthermore, the long-term presence of law enforcement is found to be the key for a successful conservation strategy inside protected areas. Third, it demonstrates that all African great apes are found to respond differently to external threats from area borders. Finally, the study provides some recommendations on how to improve conservation strategies at global and local scales.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available