Helping Chimpanzee Conservation Efforts with Satellite Imagery

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NASA has partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute to provide satellite imagery and the analysis needed to understand where habitat loss is the most extreme to protect chimpanzees in the wild.  Conservation officials estimate that only around 345,000 chimpanzees exist in the world, down dramatically from more than two millions that existed a hundred years ago.

Deforestation and fragmentation of existing forested areas in central and west Africa are contributing to the decline of these great apes.  The use of satellite imagery is important tool in conservation efforts.

“NASA satellite data helps us understand what it means to be a chimp by overlaying distribution of the habitat with the chimpanzee behavior and ranging data.”

           ~ Lilian Pintea, a remote sensing specialist and vice president of conservation science for the Jane Goodall Institute.


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The red line delineates the boundary of Gombe National Park and shows the stark difference in the forested land cover of the park versus the unprotected areas. Image: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualiztion Studio/Cindy Starr

The red line delineates the boundary of Gombe National Park and shows the stark difference in the forested land cover of the park versus the unprotected areas. Image: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr

NASA has published an article detailing how satellite imagery and remote sensing are providing tools for conservationists to use in educating villagers on how their activities impact the environment.  By using satellite image to understand how deforestation also can impact the villagers, better landuse plans can be developed.  Pintea explains, “When deforestation happens, important ecological functions and services are lost which impacts both chimps and people.”

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Watch the video explaining the partnership between NASA and the Jane Goodall Institute:

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