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Chimpanzee population threatened by Chinese dam
Moyen-Bafing National Park is home to 16,500 Western chimpanzees.

Up to 1,500 Western chimpanzees could die as a result of the project

Experts have criticised plans to build a hydroelectric dam in the Moyen-Bafing National Park, Guinea, warning that it could have a detrimental effect on the chimpanzees that live there.

Moyen-Bafing is home to 16,500 Western chimpanzees. The species is reported to have declined by 80 per cent in the past decade and is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Last week Chinese firm Sinohydro signed a contract to build a new dam inside the park. The Guardian reports that local representatives were keen to secure a project that would bring energy and funds to one of Africa’s poorest countries. 

But primatologist Rebecca Kormos said that up to 1,500 chimpanzees could die as a consequence of the project, either by having their territory flooded or because of territorial conflicts if they attempt to move.

“I hope Sinohydro will reconsider engaging in a project that could drive the western chimpanzee into extinction. Once a species goes, it’s gone forever,” she said.

The Guardian reports that the nature reserve was created in 2016 intended as a “chimpanzee offset” funded by two mining companies and the World Bank.
But while the plan for the dam is popular in Guinea, locals are said to be unaware that the energy created will not go to them.

"This is not a case of the international community outting chimpanzees before before people," Kormos continued. "Three-quarters of the energy will be sold to neighbouring countries and the remaining quarter is for the mining industry."

Since the project was launched, some 140,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government of Guinea to stop its construction. 

 

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.