By Talia Gerard, Youth Manager
Chimpanzees, originated from Africa, are categorized as great apes. A common misconception about Chimpanzees are that they are monkeys, this is false. A big thing that differentiates them is that monkeys have tails while Chimpanzees do not. Chimpanzees are very similar to human beings, as we share 98% of DNA; therefore it is important that we keep these animals from becoming extinct.
Why they are Important: Chimpanzees are important for many reasons, but among them are that they provide biodiversity for the African environment. Without Chimpanzees in the African environment, the ecosystem will become less stable, and have many other aversive side effects. Also, they help the human population by doing things like spreading speeds throughout the environment to give us some of the food we like to eat.
What is the problem: Chimpanzees used to be very prevalent around the world, in 25 different countries, and with around one million in just Africa 50 years ago. Now they are extinct in 5 of the 25, and endangered in 5 more countries. Also, Africa is now only home to approximately 170,000 wild Chimpanzees.
Why they are going extinct: There are four major reasons why Chimpanzees are going extinct. The first one being in the United States alone, home to about 2,000 Chimpanzees, use approximately 850 of them for research, 250 reside in zoos, 250 are in private hands, and the last 600 live in sanctuaries. Another factor of Chimpanzee extinction is disease, especially in Africa. Diseases such as Ebola not only affect the human population but also the wildlife, killing off tens of thousands of the Chimpanzees. Poaching, and eating bushmeat is also a problem in Africa. The African people use bushmeat, meat of wild animals, for the main food supply. Wealthy urban residents use poaching and cooking an egg of an animal to satisfy their appetite. Lastly, infant Chimpanzees are abducted alive, and sold to people as pets.
How we can help:
- Adopt a Chimpanzee.
- Donate to places like WWF, or savethechimps.org so they can continue their work to save the endangered animals.
Want more of The Endangered? Check out the growing list of articles on our Wildlife page.