A Previously Undiscovered Group of Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) is Observed Living in the Tonkolili District of Sierra Leone


Correspondence to: Andrew R. Halloran, College of Liberal Education, Assaf Academic Center #107, Lynn University, 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33431. E-mail: ahalloran@lynn.edu


A previously undocumented group of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) was recently discovered along the Pampana River in the Tonkolili District of Sierra Leone. Based on interviews from local residents (N = 6), we estimate the group size to be approximately 30 individuals. Though this population does not show up in the most recent census of chimpanzees in Sierra Leone, it concurs with findings that indicate most of the chimpanzees in Sierra Leone live scattered throughout the country alongside villages, rather than in protected areas. During a three-week observation in the area, two chimpanzees were hunted and killed. The reason for these deaths, along with other reported instances of hunting in the area, are primarily due to crop-raiding and competition for resources between chimpanzees and humans. We conclude that this is a heavily imperiled population. Based on the ecology of the area and composition of local villages, we propose a number of conservation strategies that will promote a symbiotic relationship between the chimpanzees and human populations residing in the area. Am. J. Primatol. 75:519-523, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.