Chimpanzees in the wild are found solely in Africa. They are located in 21 African countries, mostly in Central Africa. Chimpanzees are an endangered species with anywhere from 172,000 to nearly 300,000 left in the world. Their endangered status is predominantly due to habitat loss and the bushmeat trade, though their susceptibility to infectious diseases also plays a factor.
Oftentimes baby chimpanzees are left orphaned when their mothers are killed for their meat. The babies, (if not killed themselves) are then stolen from the wild and sold as pets, used for illegal entertainment or sold to zoos. Without their mothers the baby chimps do not stand a fair chance at survival.
Chimps mostly reside in rainforests however every year more of the rainforest is being cut down, leaving these beautiful primates without a home. Deforestation occurs to make room for plantations where products such as palm oil, tea and coffee and sugar cane are grown. Habitat loss is a major contributing factor for the decrease in the chimpanzee population.
Chimpanzees can also fall victim to human disease. Because of this we must limit human proximity to chimps.
Chimpanzees share over 98% of their DNA with humans. It wasn’t until the research conducted by Dr. Jane Goodall in 1960 at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, that we realized that chimpanzees make and use tools in their everyday lives. This breakthrough proved that chimpanzees were not that different from humans. Dr. Jane Goodall has been instrumental in raising awareness for the chimpanzee species.
In the wild, chimpanzees have an average lifespan of around 45 years of age. Fully grown they weigh anywhere from 70 – 130 lbs. They stand around 4 to 5.5 ft tall. Their diet consists of fruits, nuts, flowers leaves and insects. Chimpanzees have also been known to kill (and more rarely, eat) other primates, including their own.
There are a variety of ways to help save the chimpanzee species from extinction. By limiting the amount of tourists who are allowed to observe the chimps in their natural environment, we can help to eliminate the spread of infectious disease. You can help to raise awareness of the species by sharing this article and/or you can donate to a charitable wildlife foundation such as The Jane Goodall Institute, the World Wildlife Fund or the African Wildlife Foundation.
With your help we can ensure the survival of this remarkable species.