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Populations of chimpanzees and gorillas in West Africa are being severely threatened by both hunting and the Ebola virus. The bushmeat trade is decimating ape populations near towns, while Ebola is killing almost every animal in remote areas.

A study published in this week's Nature shows that populations of both species in Gabon have diminished by about half over the past 20 years.

"Without aggressive investments in law enforcement, protected area management and Ebola prevention, the next decades will see our closest relatives pushed to the brink of extinction," the researchers warn.

Link to news story in Nature

Link to research paper in Nature

Photo credit: © Nicky Lewis/SciDev.Net 2003

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