The protected area of Bossou, which administratively and biogeographically belongs to the adjacent Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, is home to endangered Western chimpanzees. The Bossou chimpanzee population is collapsing, with habitat degradation, human-wildlife conflicts, and transmission of human diseases caused by the increased frequency of human-wildlife interactions. The project seeks to acquire and conserve all available habitat in order to promote the survival of chimpanzees in the region.
The target areas are the unprotected southern part of the Mount Gban (southern limit of Bossou), a corridor between the Mount Gban and Mount Nimba, and the foothills of Mount Nimba. The land will belong to the Guinean Park Foundation. Its short and long-term management will be carried out by Guinean Park Foundation, in collaboration with CEGENS (Centre de Gestion de l'Environnement du Nimba et du Simandou), and the IREB (Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou) station.
The survival of the Bossou chimpanzees is reliant on the villagers’ special relationship to them. The chimpanzees are considered ‘ancestral relatives’ by the local animist people, who did not have a tradition of hunting the chimpanzees. However, young hunters do not continue to honor this tradition, and now often consider the chimpanzees a ‘pest’ species. Securing the future of the chimpanzees will help the local people to remember and re-invent their cultural roots. In addition, eco-tourism will help the local economy, contributing to the recognition of their neighbors’ importance in the forest.