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People Of Bossou
village of Bossou, in the Prefecture of Lola, is 1050 km from Conakry
and 6 km from the foot of the Nimba Mountains, near Guinea's southeastern
border with Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia.
Bossou and the surrounding villages provide a rare example of a site where wild chimpanzees and local people have been living side by side in relative harmony for many generations, sharing the resources of the same forest.
In general, human interference in forested ecosystems in the Republic
of Guinea is extensive; the area around the village of Bossou is no exception.
There are approximately 2000 people living in Bossou, although numbers
have fluctuated due to the establishment of temporary refugee camps during
civil wars in Liberia and the Ivory Coast (Yamakoshi, 2005). Although
Bossou has been declared a reserve area, the majority of people living
there are subsistence farmers practising slash and burn agriculture. Consequently
the chimpanzees' home range is fragmented and surrounded by cultivated
and abandoned orchards, fruit trees, fields and farms.
Children in BOSSOU
The locals rely heavily on rice and cassava for carbohydrate intake, but also produce a wide variety of fruits including pineapple, papaya, orange and mandarin, mango and advocado for their own consumption and retail. Both humans and chimpanzees rely heavily on oil palms, but due to this species' high density and status as a communal resource, competition is relatively low (Yamakoshi, 2005). Although it was previously thought that deforestation and the subsequent cultivation of the forested hills began relatively recently, video footage from the 1960's shows extensive deforestation on the slopes of the largest hill, Gban (Yamakoshi 2006). This reinforces the view that the chimpanzees and the local population have coexisted in close proximity for generations; Matsuzawa (2006) remarks that over the last 20 years the villagers' perceptions of the chimpanzees has remained largely positive.
The market is held every Wednesday.
A lot of things are sold.
Remains of the refugee camp
Human and chimpanzee interaction
The village of Bossou is home to the Manon people who hold the neighbouring
chimpanzees as the reincarnation of their ancestors, and believe that
their ancestors' souls rest on the sacred hill of Gban (Kortlandt, 1986).
As the chimpanzee is a totem of the most influential family of Bossou,
it is strictly forbidden to hunt or eat the chimpanzee (Yamakoshi, 2005).
The people and chimpanzees come into contact regularly either by the road side or around cultivated areas, and many villagers are afraid of the chimpanzees. However, due to the local peoples strong cultural beliefs, humans and chimpanzees have been able to co-survive in such close proximity over many generations.