From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

Wild chimpanzee mother and baby photographed for first time in Cameroon national park

The first-ever photos of chimpanzees have been snapped inside Douala-Edea National Park, Cameroon by wildlife-monitoring camera-traps.

Chimpanzees in Douala-Edea National Park, Cameroon. © ZSL
Published: July 14, 2022 at 10:58 am
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Wildlife-monitoring camera-traps have produced the first-ever photograph of chimpanzees inside Cameroon's Douala-Edea National Park. And the picture doesn't just show a single chimp – this photo reveals a mother carrying her baby, which proves that these amazing apes are breeding in the park.

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The picture comes from camera traps installed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the international scientific, conservation and educational charity who have projects currently running in more than 50 countries.

Alpha male chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) in Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda.

The team will now install more camera traps in Douala-Edea National Park in the hope of learning and understanding more about the cimpanzees – and other wildlife – that call the park home.

Chimpanzees in Douala-Edea National Park, Cameroon
The chimpanzees were snapped by camera traps in Douala-Edea National Park, Cameroon. © ZSL

Chimpanzees are one of our closest living relatives, sharing 98% of our genetic DNA. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus), are the only two species in the genus Pan – evolutionary biologists believe that humans, chimps and bonobos shared a common ancestor around 7 million years ago.

There are four confirmed subspecies of chimpanzee. The pair photographed here are Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti), and this subspecies is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The are at risk of extinction in the wild due to hunting and ongoing habitat loss from illegal timber exploitation, loss of land for farming, and bush fires thought to be exacerbated by climate change.

The other subspecies are Central chimpanzee (P. t. troglodytes), Western chimpanzee (P. t. verus) and Eastern chimpanzee (P. t. schweinfurthii).

ZSL have been working alongside local experts across the Douala-Edéa and Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserves in Cameroon since 2014. Together with the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), local NGOs and communities, ZSL help to protect species living in the forests and along the coast from over exportation and hunting through sustainable community-based initiatives, livelihood support, regular wildlife surveys, ranger support in Protected Areas and habitat restoration.

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Find out more about ZSL’s presence and work in Cameroon.

Authors

Paul McGuinnessEditor of BBC Wildlife and discoverwildlife.com

Paul is the editor of BBC Wildlife and discoverwildlife.com. A highly experienced magazine journalist with over 25 years in publishing, Paul was previously editor of BBC History Revealed and BBC Knowledge.

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