Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Abundance and habitat use by gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the Lobeke National Park (Cameroon) and Implications for conservation

Last modified: 2014-10-03


Disruption and fragmentation of habitat, and commercial hunting are among the main threats to gorilla populations in the forests of the Congo Basin. Indeed, gorilla populations are experiencing drastic population decreases in the Lobeke National Park (LNP) south-east Cameroon. The conservation area is located in the border landscape Tri-National Sangha between Cameroon, Congo and Central African Republic. The recurrence of armed conflict in the Central African Republic is not likely to help the relaxation of threats. Moreover, we lacks basic information about gorillas in Lobeke National Park. To overcome this lack of data, we have begun to evaluate the abundance and habitat use by lowland gorillas in the West. Data were collected along permanent transects in two seasons, one dry and one wet to assess seasonal influences on the distribution and habitat use by this species. A total of 75 km of line transects were walked in two sampling sites, giving an estimate of 0.75 gorillas / km ² in the dry season and 0.93 gorillas / km ² in the rainy season. To stay in line with the Biodiversity Information Standards, we have an important database on nest counting gorillas, collected in 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2013 in the National Park Lobéké. This extensive database can be shared with other interested researchers and GBIF for future use. To complete our studies, we would like to have the standard data on environmental conditions of the Lobeke site to facilitate the development of the map of habitat suitability for this species. Hence the interest we attach to this important conference on Biodiversity Information Standards. Each data on the gorilla nest is georeferenced in order to have the distribution of the species. the use of database GBIF allow us to improve the proposal through the information about the past and present distribution of the species. specimens identified and available in the laboratory of the School of Wildlife for educational reasons can also be networked to a much wider use. specific data available bearing the identification code, the name of the species with the local name, place of collection with GPS position. As first results, the highest abundance of nests was obtained in habitats with open canopy and undergrowth dominated by species Marantaceae (Haumania danckelmaniana). Gorillas use different habitats for foraging and nest building. The canopy opening, undergrowth and topography influence the distribution of gorillas in the National Park Lobéké. The time of year also influences the distribution of gorilla nests, the latter being more abundant in the rainy season. This result is important and provides data necessary to guide decision-making management gorillas in NLP. The curatorial departments should initiate gorilla habituation in this ecological entity, using these results to develop a real tour in the park, strengthening supervision to reduce the pressure of poaching and habitat destruction.