01 Oct '12, 12pm

Rarest gorillas lose half their habitat in 20 years

Lowland gorilla in Gabon. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. Cross River gorillas and eastern gorillas lost more than half their habitat since the early 1990s due to deforestation, logging, and other human activities, finds a comprehensive new assessment across great apes' range in West and Central Africa. The study, published in the journal Diversity and Distributions by a large international team of researchers, used field data from some 15,000 sites, remote sensing data on climate and forest cover, and information on human impacts to evaluate change in habitat for eight species of gorillas, chimps, and bonobos. The scientists found an especially sharp decline in gorilla habitat, with significantly smaller losses for chimpanzees: Loss of predicted SEC [suitable environmental conditions] appeared highest for Cross River gorillas (−59%), followed by eastern gorillas (−52%), western...

Full article: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/1001-great-apes-habitat.html

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