Quite a few of the African Great Apes, which include chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos are looking at quite a bleak future due to climate change. A recent study has concluded that the factors- developed strictly by humans- like a growing human population, climate crisis, and increasing deforestation, could spell the end of the great apes of Africa. The situation is so dire that the apes might be looking at a loss of 94% of their living habitat by the year 2050. Now, this can be the worst-case scenario if humans aren’t willing to go against time and stop greenhouse gas emissions.
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The African Great Apes Under A Lot Of Stress
Even under the best-case scenario, the African great Apes could still be looking at a loss of about 85% of their living habitat– even if we manage to cool our planet considerably. Joana Carvalho, the lead author of this study from Liverpool John Moores University has stated that the apes have fallen under the most vulnerable mammal groups in the entire world. Interestingly, this also seems to be the first-ever study where man-made factors that directly affect other animals have been pitted against them.
In today’s world, most of the African Great Apes like bonobos find themselves listed by the IUCN as critically endangered or endangered. Increasing deforestation has led to their land being cleared for food, timber, mining, and major infrastructure projects. Even armed human conflict can put a major impact on their chances of survival. When we add the phantom of climate change to it, it can be easy to surmise that a major crisis is at hand. Nevertheless, the study claims that any well-planned actions for conservation could definitely help the future of the apes.
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While one could easily stake a claim that the African Great Apes simply migrate to colder places, it isn’t feasible. Carvalho has stated that while climate change could definitely make a few inhospitable places hospitable for the apes, it wouldn’t be happening immediately. The apes, under any circumstance, are usually poor migrators as well as slow reproducers- which makes their ability to claim new territory quite an improbability.