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Congo swings into action to save chimps

By Matthew Knight, CNN
March 1, 2012 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Chimpanzees in the Republic of Congo's pristine Goualougo Triangle forest have received a conservation boost. Chimpanzees in the Republic of Congo's pristine Goualougo Triangle forest have received a conservation boost.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Republic of Congo extend protection of pristine natural habitat
  • Goualougo Triangle home to unique population of great apes
  • 100-mile plus extension of protected area guards against hunting and promotes study

Editor's note: The original article incorrectly referred to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(CNN) -- This chimp and the rest of a unique population of great apes should be hanging around a bit longer thanks a new conservation commitment in Africa.

The Republic of Congo government recently announced the expansion of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park to include the Goualougo Triangle -- one of the world's most pristine natural environments.

James Deutsch, director of the World Conservation Society (WCS) Africa program said: "Bringing the Goualougo Triangle into the borders of Nauabale-Ndoki will help conserve this landscape's unspoiled richness and provide a safe harbor for these unique apes."

Continued work to study and protect this undisturbed population is essential
John Robinson, Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS, which first reported the area's ape population back in 1989, worked alongside the government and the country's largest logging company to help secure the new buffer zone that protects over 100 square miles of dense swamp forest and its inhabitants.

"This invaluable insight into the sophisticated minds of Goualougo's chimps would have been lost forever if not for this commitment of the government..." said John Robinson, WCS executive vice-president of conservation and science.

"These chimps have greatly expanded our knowledge of chimpanzee culture. Continued work to study and protect this undisturbed population is essential," Robinson added.

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