Strategy 8: Awareness raising
© Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue
Despite widespread international interest in chimpanzees, awareness of the issues impacting their conservation is limited among some important stakeholder groups, including range country governments, local communities, industries, and border and customs agencies. This section proposes actions for increasing awareness of chimpanzees as a protected species, about the impacts of poaching and trafficking, human-chimpanzee interactions, and the importance of maintaining chimpanzee cultural and genetic diversity.
A key lesson from the implementation of the 2003 action plan was that relevant stakeholders were not adequately informed of its existence or the actions prescribed, especially in governments with high staff turnover (Kormos 2008). Other stakeholder groups remain unaware or unconcerned about the ongoing plight of western chimpanzees, their role in the subspecies’ population decline, and opportunities to contribute to saving the species, despite the online availability of information regarding chimpanzee conservation. Even in cases where awareness was considered ‘good’, some key actors did not have the technical capacity to contribute to these actions appropriately. Therefore, an important factor identified during the 2017 workshop was to engage in active, multi-stakeholder-targeted awareness raising of issues related to western chimpanzee conservation in a culturally informed manner.
Objective 8.1: By 2021 relevant decision-makers of all eight chimpanzee range state governments are aware of and possess a copy of this action plan.
Objective 8.2: By the end of 2021, all industrial projects in West Africa possess a copy and summary of this action plan.
Objective 8.3: By 2021, relevant NGOs are aware of this action plan and opportunities for overlapping objectives regarding chimpanzee conservation with other organisations.
Objective 8.4: By 2021, 100% of stakeholders in local, national and regional LUP possess a copy of this action plan and are aware of the need for incorporation of chimpanzee conservation in their plans.
Objective 8.5: By the end of 2021, all eight western chimpanzee range states have national awareness-raising strategies that explicitly target chimpanzee conservation.
Objective 8.6: By 2024, widespread regional public awareness campaigns addressing laws pertaining to chimpanzee poaching and trafficking have been rolled out, with a special focus on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, using social media, radio, television and newspapers.
Objective 8.7: By 2024, 100% of the populace of range states with the highest chimpanzee bushmeat consumption are aware of the illegality of killing and trafficking of chimpanzees for food and the pet trade and the health risks involved.
Objective 8.8: By 2022, all strategic locations such as ports and land borders display billboards, to deter people from poaching and trafficking chimpanzees and to pressure officials to adequately enforce the laws.
Objective 8.9: By 2022, develop multiple platforms for awareness raising regarding chimpanzee behaviour, the importance of local taboos prohibiting the killing and consumption of chimpanzees, and the laws protecting chimpanzees.
Objective 8.10: By 2023, chimpanzee sanctuaries and other relevant NGOs and partners raise public awareness of human-primate interactions in the region in a culturally-appropriate way and using non-inflammatory language (see Human-Chimpanzee Interactions) when it comes to bolstering the understanding of why chimpanzees are motivated to forage on crops, why chimpanzees may behave agonistically towards people, and the laws protecting chimpanzees.
Objective 8.11: By the end of 2021, relevant stakeholders have publicly endorsed the value of genetic and cultural diversity of western chimpanzees.
Objective 8.12: By the end of 2023, the value of maintaining the cultural and genetic diversity of western chimpanzees is articulated in performance standards and policies of financing institutions and the private sector, and compliance to these standards is monitored.