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Surveys and Monitoring of Great Ape Populations

The guidelines for surveys and monitoring of great ape populations address the challenge of collecting consistently high-quality data for comparison between sites and across years. The need for standardization is driven less by academic interest than by the urgent demands of field-based conservation. The maelstrom of threats which now endanger all the great apes must be addressed by immediate action on every scale: initiatives at individual sites, strategies on the regional and national level, and species-wide action plans and international accords. All of these efforts must be founded on accurate field data. To fully understand the impact of specific threats, and to measure conservation success, it is essential to have baseline density estimates and sustained monitoring of great ape populations.

This publication outlines current approaches to these issues, offering guidance and perspective on choices that must be made by wildlife biologists, site managers, government agencies and the conservation community at large. This report provides an overview of the variety of survey methodologies that have been developed, as well as a decision tree to help select the approach that is best for a particular site or situation, depending on available resources. As a continuation of this report, a series of modules are available online (see below).

These guidelines complement the goal of the IUCN SSC A.P.E.S. database, which serves as a repository for survey data on great apes. The guidelines, combined with resources available via the A.P.E.S. Portal, are important steps towards a comprehensive understanding of the conservation status of great apes, at both the population and species level.

Chapters 1 & 2 are available below:

Citation: Kühl, H., Maisels, F., Ancrenaz, M. & Williamson, E.A. (2008). Best Practice Guidelines for Surveys and Monitoring of Great Ape Populations. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

Best Practice Guidelines for Surveys and Monitoring of Great Ape Populations
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