Great Apes Status Survey
 
December 15, 1999
Dear Colleague

As we all know, great ape populations worldwide are under pressure from a variety of factors: habitat loss, human disturbance, hunting, and epidemic disease. While the fact that most ape populations are threatened is well known, we still have surprisingly little data on the specific threats to ape populations in different locations. This lack of information is alarming, given the fact that the combination of apes' low population density and slow reproductive rates means that ape populations have low resilience to population shocks. The aim of this survey is to gather specific, qualitative data on the nature and magnitude of threats to ape populations in different areas, in order to enable a more accurate assessment of the various threats to global ape populations. Anybody who completes this questionnaire will automatically become part of the Great Ape Research Group that will author the resulting publication (unless you indicate that you would like your name NOT to be included as part of the Great Ape Research Group).

If you work in a site with both gorillas and chimpanzees, and have data on both species, please fill out the questionnaire twice - once for gorillas, and once for chimpanzees. We apologize for the inconvenience - we tried to design a single questionnaire to cover two-species sites, but it became too long.

Many field-workers work intensely at a Research Site (e.g. Kanyawara; or Cabang Panti) and carry out surveys within a larger area, which may be a Protected Area (e.g. Kibale National Park; or Gunung Palung National Park) or an Unprotected Area. Please note that some questions apply to Research Sites, and others to Protected Areas.

The questionnaire is designed to be answered for Protected Areas (PA's), i.e. areas that have been officially designated as protected, whether by governments or private initiative.

 If you work in an Unprotected Area, your data are still of value, but the fact that Unprotected Areas normally do not have specific boundaries will make it awkward to answer some of the survey questions (e.g. "estimate this ape's population density in your PA"). Therefore, we ask that if you provide an answer for an Unprotected Area, you send us a separate email (to gas@fas.harvard.edu) explaining how you defined the Unprotected Area (e.g. all the forest between Rivers X and Y). If you do this, you should treat questions about the PA as if they apply to your Unprotected Area.

Patience may be needed with the web-site, down-loading will sometimes be slow. 

In order to facilitate greater participation, we have extended our initial deadline from 31 December, 1999 to 15 February, 2000.  Naturally, this means that the communication of results will be somewhat delayed with respect to our initial expectations, but we feel that the strength of this project lies in its inclusiveness. Please submit your responses to this survey by 15 February, 2000 - and the earlier the better, so that if we find that some countries are under-represented, we can make an extra effort to find people who work there. And please spread the word to others who can help!

In another effort to increase participation, we will post a list of the PA's for which we have received responses.  If you see that an area with which you have familiarity is missing, please fill out the survey or contact colleagues who can and encourage them to do so.

 Thanks!

Note: Answer the questions based on events within the last 5 years (i.e. 1995-1999), unless the question specifies otherwise. If you have relevant information regarding your ape population before 1995, please note this separately.

If you want to add any details not covered in the questionnaire, we welcome correspondence to gas@fas.harvard.edu

 Richard Wrangham, James Holland Jones, Andrew Marshall
 
 

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