Kelly Boyer Ontl will present: “CHIMPANZEES IN THE ISLAND OF GOLD: Impacts of artisanal small-scale gold mining on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Fongoli, Senegal”.
Artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has a long history in West Africa, supplementing agricultural livelihoods and helping to fuel West African empires, ancient Egypt, and medieval Europe via extensive trade routes. ASGM continues today but has taken on different dimensions through the influence of globalization and mechanization. The widespread practice now threatens the habitat, health and future of West African wildlife including endangered West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). In this talk I will be discussing the socio-ecological impacts of ASGM activity on chimpanzee behavior and resource use at the Fongoli field site in southeastern Senegal. The surge in gold prices over the past 10 years has intensified gold mining in Senegal, increasing transnational migration, human population, and environmental degradation, and consequently altering how chimpanzees use the landscape. The impacts of ASGM are now considered among the species’ largest threat in Senegal, and conservation efforts are underway to protect the country’s remaining chimpanzee population last estimated at 500 individuals.