The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with other conservationists working in the country have recently caught on camera images of chimpanzees in the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa (OSO) forest, traversing Ogun, Osun and Ondo States.
The camera-trap photos are the first firm evidence of chimpanzees in South West Nigeria for over a decade and the discovery has been greeted with a lot of enthusiasm by conservationists.
The finding, according to a statement from the foundation, has also been described as a surprise by experts on the project.
Commenting on the new discovery at the foundation’s headquarters in Lagos over the weekend, the Director General of NCF, Mr Adeniyi Karunwi, said that the deployment of camera traps and the positive results coming out are signs of NCF’s commitment to conserving the nation’s forest habitats with particular attention on the OSO forest.
“This is part of NCF’s efforts to ensure the survival of species in the OSO Forest Reserve,” he said.
Dr Andrew Bowkett from the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which also funds conservation work as a partner in the OSO Forest Initiative, said it was tremendous news.
“It seemed likely that this population had gone extinct due to the dramatic increases in logging and hunting over the years. It has come as something of a surprise, as all previous reports indicated that the closest chimps were in a hilly area in a remote corner of the reserve far from where the camera-trap was set up,” added Bowkett.