Birth of a little chimp, hope for the declining apes of Guinea
- The baby's sex is determined to be female
- Her mother is reportedly the last fertile female of the tribe
- This community of apes lives in a forest around the village of Bossou
The last fertile female of the waning tribe of chimpanzees in Guinea offered a ray of hope to the extincting fauna community after delivering a baby chimp. This tribe of chimpanzees in Guinea attained global fame for their peculiar abilities to use tools.
“After years of sad decline, there has been good news”, said Aly Gaspard Soumah, director of the Bossou Environmental Research Institute.
"Nearly 3 days ago we were able to confirm the (baby's) sex using binoculars, because they were in the trees at the time -- it's a female." Soumrah added.
The tiny community of apes lives in a forest around the village of Bossou, in the far southeastern corner of the country.
Bossou is part of the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, a UNESCO-listed site located on the borders with Ivory Coast and Liberia.
Scientists have to reportedly trek to the location which falls on a remote location for decades to study this tool using behavior of chimps.
This stellar yet strange capability include usage of a stone hammer and anvil to crack open nuts and will not be wrong to say that this is the most sophisticated act ever observed of humanity's genetically closest relative.
The bad news however is that the population of these brilliant chimps has numbered down to single figure at Bossou.
The tribe is dying off and cannot be replenished by neighboring chimp communities because forest destruction has left it isolated.
While adding an additional virtue to their score, this community is extremely friendly with the humans. The Bossou apes have a unique relationship with the village population.
The animals live in the wild but share the territory and its resources with the locals, who protect the chimps, believing them to be the reincarnation of their ancestors.
The villagers were jubilant when they heard about the birth, Soumah said.
"Everyone, young and old, men and women, erupted in joy -- the atmosphere was incredible."
The famous apes live in forest of 320 hectares (790 acres).
Until 2003, the number of Bossou chimps was relatively stable, with around 21 individuals, Soumah said.
But seven died of influenza in 2003, and others passed away in the following years, leaving just three adult males and four adult females before the latest birth.
Of these, three are aged over 60, while the youngest is an eight-year-old male.