Other drivers of western chimpanzee losses
© Erin Wessling
Inconsistencies in legislation across countries
Legislation, penalties for non-compliance with environmental laws, and the ease with which animals can be traded differ in each country. As national borders in West Africa are relatively open and may be crossed without formal checks, inconsistencies in national legislation across the region add to the challenges already presented by weak law enforcement.
© Maegan Fitzgerald
Inadequate governance of industry
Both national governments and international organisations have structures in place to regulate industrial resource use and extraction; however, the mechanisms by which these industries are evaluated are neither well-structured nor adequately evaluated regarding their impacts on chimpanzees and other wildlife. Often, the benefits to local governments of facilitating partnerships with international industry partners outweigh the benefits of adequately overseeing their impacts on wildlife within their borders, and legal frameworks designed to protect environmental resources are often subverted or ignored. This is equally relevant to infrastructural development projects spearheaded by national governments themselves and which therefore do not need to undergo explicit environmental and social impact reviews. As such, extractive and other development project impacts are not sufficiently mitigated or avoided. Furthermore, governance capacity to evaluate the impacts of infrastructural or extractive projects is often inadequate even when the will is there.
Lack of consideration of chimpanzees in land-use planning
Although land-use planning (LUP) exercises are typically multi-sectorial and multi-step processes that include many considerations – ranging from economic to social, logistical and environmental needs – chimpanzees are rarely taken into account. In LUP, this is due in part to the unavailability of data on chimpanzee distributions, but importantly also to the omission of data as a result of insufficient political or economic interest in chimpanzees.
Inadequate financial and logistical resources for chimpanzee conservation
While conservation practitioners may be aware of what is required to effectively conserve chimpanzees, in many cases they are ill-equipped. Conservation practitioners and the relevant government agencies in range countries are rarely prioritised by the governments that support them, leaving them inadequately staffed and underfunded. Inadequate maintenance of infrastructure and equipment compounds the logistical challenges.
© Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection
Weak environmental governance
Although it is illegal throughout Africa to capture or trade in chimpanzees or chimpanzee body parts, clandestine trafficking still occurs. This is due to the lack of enforcement of national laws and inadequate judicial capacity to prosecute offenders. The lack of capacity of environmental agencies to fully implement international agreements such as CITES reflects a low level of national and regional political will to address the issue of wildlife crime.