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Wildlife

For a peaceful coexistence with the wildlife

© WWF-Gabon

WWF focuses its work on a number of key species found in Gabon.

© Hervé Morand / WWF
© Hervé Morand / WWF

Forest elephants

Over the past century, African Forest Elephant populations have declined across most of their range. This species is now classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

In Gabon, the main host country for this species, the Central African forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) has lost nearly 80% of its population in 10 years in a very large park, even though it is a sanctuary, according to a study published in 2017.

Poaching for ivory is currently the principal cause of its population’s decline with persistent poaching pressure at many sites. Rapid land use change, driving the direct loss and fragmentation of habitat, is also an increasing threat to African elephants across their range. Land conversion is a product of the ongoing expansion of the human population and associated agriculture and infrastructure development, which in turn are driven by economic and technological advances.

A specific manifestation of this trend is the reported increase in human-elephant conflict.

© naturepl.com / T.J. Rich / WWF
© naturepl.com / T.J. Rich / WWF

Great Apes

Due to high levels of poaching, infectious diseases and loss of habitat and habitat quality caused by expanding human activities, there has been an estimated significant reduction in this population over the last 20-30 years and it is suspected that this reduction will continue over the next 30-40 years.

Although conservation efforts directed at Great Apes and other wildlife have increased significantly in recent years, the assumption that population reductions will continue is a precautionary approach based on the rapid growth of human populations in sub-Saharan Africa, continuing poaching for bushmeat, the commercial bushmeat trade, the arrival of industrial agriculture (which requires clearcutting of forest), corruption and lack of law enforcement, lack of capacity and resources, and political instability in some range states.

At the same time, zoonosis and disease outbreaks present significant risks.

© Carlos Drews / WWF
© Carlos Drews / WWF

Marine turtles

Of the 7 species of marine turtles that exist in the world, the Gabon beaches are home to four of them during the nesting season : Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), green turtles (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea).

Enhanced efforts to assess and reduce the impacts of these threats on marine turtle species should be a high priority for future conservation efforts.

Gabon is home to the largest population of leatherback turtles in the world. The country also has the highest nesting density in Africa, and probably up to 30% of the total population of this critically endangered species.

The leatherback turtle, as well as the other marine turtle species present in Gabon (green turtles, hawksbill turtles, olive ridley turtles) are under continuous threat.

Fisheries bycatch was classified as the highest threat to marine turtles globally, followed by human consumption of turtle eggs, meat, or other products, and coastal development.

WWF implements actions to address the problem of illegal wildlife trade.
© WWF-Gabon

What is WWF doing?

WWF works to conserve these threatened species because they are of ecological, economic and cultural importance.

Through its programmes, WWF implements actions to address the problem of illegal wildlife trade. It focuses on combating the illegal trade in ivory, great apes, bushmeat and live animals.

In Gabon, WWF will continue to contribute to :
  • Support the adoption and implementation of best practice in protected area management
  • Establish an effective bio-monitoring system through national databases
  • Supporting appropriate conservation management approaches that also recognise the role of communities
  • Develop mutually beneficial incentives for community co-existence and flagship species and demonstration systems for local community engagement and inclusion in conservation management plans.
  • Improve and develop on techniques for the mitigation of human-wildlife conflict