The chimpanzee is a species of ape that resides in the Congo Basin. Chimpanzees spend most of their days in treetops. When they are on the ground, they will usually walk on all fours, although they can traverse in a bipedal fashion for about a mile. The chimpanzee lives in groups of 15 to 150, but smaller groups will travel and hunt during the day. Along with the bonobo, chimpanzees are our closest relatives, sharing 98% of their DNA with humans. The chimpanzee is listed as endangered by the IUCN, with only roughly 170,000-300,000 individuals left in the wild.
Poaching is a significant threat for the chimpanzee. Bushmeat has always been a primary source of food in Central and West Africa, but more recently poaching has been commercialized to satisfy the appetites of wealthy urban residents. In addition, disease also plagues chimpanzees - recent ebola outbreaks have killed tens of thousands of great apes.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Chimpanzees are capable of making and using tools for purposes such as smashing fruits, drinking, or reaching distant items. They use these tools for more purposes than any other animal besides humans.
- Chimpanzees communicate with each other much like humans do - such as kissing, hugging, patting each other on the back, holding hands, and tickling.
- In captivity, chimps have been taught human languages such as American Sign Language, and can even communicate simple sentences.
- The IUCN has classified the chimpanzee as endangered.
- The chimpanzee's scientific name is Pan troglodytes.