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anonymous Chimpanzees July 17, 2007 3:50 PM

Great Apes >  ChimpanzeesOnce found in 25 African countries, chimpanzees now are extinct in four and nearing so in others.Once found in 25 African countries, chimpanzees now are extinct in four and nearing so in others.
photo: WWF-Canon / Michel GuntherChimpanzees, the closest living relative to humans, share an estimated 98 percent of our genes. Four subspecies of chimpanzees are identified, based on differences of appearance and distribution: the western chimpanzee, central chimpanzee, eastern chimpanzee and the Nigeria chimpanzee.

The chimpanzee's characteristic shape includes arms that extend beyond the knees, opposable thumbs and a prominent mouth. The skin on its face, ears, palms, and soles of the feet is bare, and the rest of the body is covered with brown to black hairs. Adults have bare, black faces, and fur color ranging from deep black to brown; young chimps have pinkish ears, nose, hands, and feet.

When erect, chimps stand between 3 and 5 1/2 feet tall. In the wild, males can weigh between 75 and 150 pounds, and females between 57 and 110 pounds.

Chimpanzees usually move on the ground, although during the day they stay mostly in trees, where they also sleep in makeshift nests made with vegetation. The species walks on all fours, but individuals can also walk on their legs for more than a half-mile, and young individuals sometimes swing from branch to branch.

Chimpanzees eat with their hands, which they also use to throw objects at enemies and to create tools. Notably, chimps will poke a stick into a termite mound to feed on the insects and can crack open nuts.

Once found in 25 African countries, chimpanzees now are extinct in four and nearing extinction in others due to the terrible toll exacted from deforestation and commercial hunting for bushmeat. All four subspecies of chimpanzee are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Urgent measures are needed to conserve remaining chimpanzee populations. In West Africa WWF is working to develop and strengthen protected areas in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. In Central Africa, we are helping establish and manage protected forest areas in Gabon, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and several other countries. WWF is also working to stop the illegal killing of apes in logging areas and to reduce the impact of the bushmeat trade on endangered species such as apes.

Range states
Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo , Uganda

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anonymous  July 17, 2007 4:06 PM


Our closest relativeClass: Mammalia (mammal)
Order: Hominidae (human-like mammals)
Family: Pan troglodytes (chimpanzee)

The chimpanzee is more closely related to humans than any other mammal. It ranks 2nd only to humans in intelligence.

The chimpanzee has another close relative called the bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee.

Both species are found only in tropical Africa, mainly West and Central Africa. However Bonobos are found only in the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chimpanzees enjoy the lush greenery of thick forests but are also found where the forest meets wooded savannas.

In previous times they once inhabited 25 African countries. Now, they are extinct in 4 and nearing extinction in many others.

The ape family
The chimpanzee is the 3rd largest ape after the gorilla and the orangutan. A male stands about 1.5 m tall when upright and weighs about 43 kg. It has a pink to brown face and thick, long, brown-black hair. The face, ears, hands and feet are bare. Like other great apes, chimps do not have tails.

Moving about
Chimpanzees have longer arms than legs. They can move on the ground or through trees. On the ground, they run on all fours, but walk upright with toes turned inwards.

While on all fours, they support the weight of their body on the knuckles of their hands. Chimps are scared of falling from trees and rarely swing by their arms as gibbons and orangutans do.

What's on the menu?
Chimpanzees are mainly vegetarians, eating leaves, roots, and fruits like wild figs. But they sometimes eat birds, small rodents, and insects. Termites are a favourite snack!

Wild chimps spend about 7 hours a day looking for food, either up in the trees or on the ground. Crevices and cracks in logs are searched for insects, and nests are robbed for eggs and chicks.

Chimps' teaparty?
Chimps sometimes use tools for eating: they dip a grass stem into a termite nest and lick off the termites that crawl up the stem. Sometimes they use rocks for breaking open tough fruits.

When food is plentiful, a large group of chimps assembles for a feast. Adult males drum on the roots of trees or on the ground and other chimps join in a loud hooting chorus. This noise can be heard a long way off, attracting other chimps.

Chimps seem to get most of their water from the fruit they eat. They rarely drink and when they do, they dip one hand into the water and lick it. They also crush leaves into a 'sponge' squeeze the water into their mouth.

Conservation concern
In West Africa, chimps are now very rare because most of their forest habitat has been chopped down to make room for farming. Although chimps are still quite common in other parts of Africa, in some areas people enjoy eating chimpanzees and many are killed for food.

These days, logging companies are moving into new areas of rainforest to exploit them for timber. Not only does this destroy the chimpanzees' habitat, it also means that more people can hunt them.

WWF is helping to conserve chimpanzees by working with African governments to create national parks where chimpanzees will be safe.

Chimpanzee facts
  • Each adult chimpanzee builds a new, individual tree nest each night for sleeping.
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anonymous Facts July 17, 2007 4:11 PM

Chimpanzee Facts - Did you know?

· Chimpanzees are “Apes”, not monkeys. The other apes include gorillas, orang-utans, bonobos (or pygmy chimpanzees) and gibbons.

· Chimpanzees share 98.4% DNA with humans, which makes them closer to humans than gorillas.

· There are two species of Chimpanzee
- Common Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes) – which are found in 21 African countries
- Bonobo or Pygmy Chimpanzee (Pan paniscus) which is found in DR Congo

· There are four subspecies of Common Chimpanzee:
- Pan troglodytes verus (West Africa)
- Pan troglodytes troglodytes (Central Africa)
- Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii (East Africa)
- Pan troglodytes velerosus (Cameroon)

· There are thought to be 175,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild but their numbers are reducing at an alarming rate as their habitats are being destroyed and the “bushmeat” trade increases.

· There are 17 sanctuaries in Africa caring for orphaned and/or confiscated chimpanzees. In 2000, an association of sanctuaries was formed, called the “Pan African Sanctuary Alliance”, to help conserve chimpanzees and their habitats through education and political lobbying.

· Chimpanzees are highly social animals and can live in communities of 20-100 individuals. Each community has a dominant male called the “alpha” male. The community lives in a home range that covers approximately 1 sq km per individual in the group.

· They can live to 50 years of age and they have an elaborate communication system.

· Chimpanzees use tools to catch termites, to open nuts and for drinking water.

· Chimpanzees eat mostly fruit, e.g., figs and sometimes insects, eggs and nestlings. Occasionally they will stalk, attack, kill and eat monkeys; red colobus monkeys being their favourite. They feed mostly in the morning and evening and rest during the heat of the day.

· At the sanctuary, the chimpanzees are fed a variety of foodstuffs including fruit and vegetables, posho and millet porridge. They are fed four times a day.

· At dusk, wild chimpanzees build nests 6-25 metres above the ground (by pulling over branches to make a soft bed).

· Female chimpanzees become sexually active in captivity from 8-9 years of age when they start to develop a very large swelling of the ano-genital region.

· “Menarche”, the time when female chimpanzees first menstruate, occurs when they are 7 - 9 years of age in captivity and 11 –12 years of age. From this stage the heats may become fertile.

· The oestrous cycle is 34-36 day. Females can cycle until 45 years of age.

· On average, chimpanzees in the wild have their first babies when they are approximately 11-12 years of age.

· Males become fertile when they are approximately 10 years of age in the wild, earlier in captivity.

· Mating occurs when the females are in oestrus, which is only 10 days each month. Some females continue to cycle during pregnancy.

· The gestation period is 225-240 days. Normally labour is only 40 minutes long.

· A nursing female will start cycling again after 14 months to 4 years. The average time between babies is approximately 3 – 5 years.

· For the first six months of life, the offspring is in constant contact with their mother and then for many months after, is within arms reach. For the first four months, the juvenile will suckle three times per hour.

· Independent travel occurs fulltime at about five years of age when weaning also occurs.

· Solid food consumption starts from 4 – 6 months of age and increases as the suckling reduces.

· The chimpanzees at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary are not allowed to breed at this stage. Birth control is provided by a contraceptive implant “ImplanonTM” or Norplant, a silicon plastic rod containing a progesterone compound. It is inserted under the skin of the inner aspect of the upper arm. It lasts for three years.

· Chimpanzees are susceptible to many human diseases like measles, influenza, hepatitis B, ringworm and cold sores. They may also suffer from giardia, amoebic dysentery and hookworms.

· When orphan chimpanzees are first confiscated, they are quarantined for 3 months, which means they are separated from other chimps and people other than the primary caregiver. They are tested for tuberculosis on three occasions, one month apart, and are vaccinated against tetanus and polio. Once they have undergone their quarantine period, they are then transferred to Ngamba Island and introduced to the other chimpanzees.

Social Structure

Chimpanzees live in social groups called ‘communities’ and typically range from between 20-60 individuals. Communities may be la  [report anonymous abuse]
anonymous  July 17, 2007 4:14 PM

Communities may be larger in other areas, or may be reduced to very small remnant groups.

Chimpanzees' social structure can be categorized as "fusion-fission." This means they travel around in small groups of up to six, the membership of which is always changing as individuals wander off on their own for period of time, or join other groups. At times many of a community's members come together in large excited gatherings, usually when fruit is available in one part of the range, or when a sexually popular female come into estrus. Mothers and dependent young up to age seven or so are always together. And some individuals travel together more often than others - such as siblings and pairs of male friends. Contact is maintained between members of the scattered groups by means of the distance call… the ‘pant hoot’.

ithin the community a male hierarchy, ordered more or less in linear fashion, establishes social standing, with one male as the alpha. Females have their own, somewhat confused, hierarchy. All adult males dominate all females. Most disputes within a community can, therefore, be solved by threats rather than actual attacks. However, the males of a community regularly patrol their boundaries, and if they encounter individuals of a neighboring community they may attack with extreme brutality. The only individuals who can move freely between communities are adolescent females who have not yet given birth. They may transfer to a new community permanently or, having become pregnant, move back to their own natal group.

When a female is in estrus and sexually attractive and receptive to the males, the skin around her rump swells considerably and is clear pink. Females show their first very small sexual swellings at age eight or nine, but are not sexually attractive to the older males until they reach age 10 or 11. There is usually a two-year period of adolescent sterility before the female finally conceives. Spacing between births, provided the previous infant lives, is about five years.

Some females in estrus are more attractive to the males than others. A popular female may be accompanied by many or all the adult males of her community, with adolescents and juveniles tagging along. Or, the dominant male of the group may show possessive behavior toward her, trying to prevent other males from mating with her. A third observed mating pattern is the consortship, during which a male persuades a female to accompany him to some peripheral part of the community range. If he can keep her there, away from other males, until the time of ovulation, he has a good chance of siring her child. Even low-ranking males can become fathers if they have the skill to lead a female away at a time in her reproductive cycle when she is not interesting to the high-ranking males, and keep her there until her fertile period.

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anonymous  July 17, 2007 4:16 PM

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anonymous  July 18, 2007 6:50 AM

Photo: A young chimpanzee peeks through the leaves of the Tai forest  [report anonymous abuse]
anonymous  July 18, 2007 6:57 AM

Chimpanzee Profile

Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, sharing more than 98 percent of our genetic blueprint. Humans and chimps are also thought to share a common ancestor who lived some four to eight million years ago.

Chimpanzees live in social communities of several dozen animals, and can habituate themselves to African rain forests, woodlands, and grasslands.

Although they normally walk on all fours (knuckle-walking), chimpanzees can stand and walk upright. By swinging from branch to branch they can also move quite efficiently in the trees, where they do most of their eating. Chimpanzees usually sleep in the trees as well, employing nests of leaves.

Chimps are generally fruit and plant eaters, but they also consume insects, eggs, and meat, including carrion. They have a tremendously varied diet that includes hundreds of known foods.

Chimpanzees are one of the few animal species that employ tools. They shape and use sticks to retrieve insects from their nests or dig grubs out of logs. They also use stones to smash open tasty nuts and employ leaves as sponges to soak up drinking water. Chimpanzees can even be taught to use some basic human sign language.

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anonymous  July 18, 2007 7:00 AM

Females can give birth at any time of year, typically to a single infant that clings to its mother's fur and later rides on her back until the age of two. Females reach reproductive age at 13, while males are not considered adults until they are 16 years old.

Although chimps and humans are closely related, the apes have suffered much at human hands. These great apes are endangered and still threatened by bushmeat hunters and habitat destruction.  [report anonymous abuse]
anonymous  July 18, 2007 7:01 AM

Fast Facts
Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore
Average lifespan in the wild: 45 years
Size: 4 to 5.5 ft (1.2 to 1.7 m)
Weight: 70 to 130 lbs (32 to 60 kg)
Group name: Community
Protection status: Endangered
Size relative to a 6ft (2m) man:
Illustration of the animal's relative size
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anonymous  July 18, 2007 7:03 AM

Photo: Fifi with the youngest two of her four sons
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anonymous  July 18, 2007 7:04 AM

Photo: A male chimpanzee named Frodo
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anonymous  July 18, 2007 1:16 PM

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anonymous Ngamba Island,Uganda July 18, 2007 1:29 PM

NGAMBA ISLANDIn Africa, approximately 5,000 chimpanzees are killed by poachers for the bushmeat trade every year. As a by-product of this illegal practice, dozens of infant chimpanzees are taken alive from forests, bound for the pet trade throughout Africa and the rest of the world. As a measure to compliment the legal enforcement efforts of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority against this undesirable trade, establishing a refuge with a specific mission for these orphaned chimpanzees was inevitable.
Photo Ngamba Island0 Photo Ngamba Island1 
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in October 1998 to care for these individuals confiscated/rescued within Uganda. In addition to providing a safe home and ensuring the welfare of our wild cousins, the establishment's other goals  is to care for the environment on Ngamba Island, to provide a high quality educational experience for visitors as well as benefiting the island local communities. Ngamba Island is 100 acres (approximately 40 hectares) of rainforest situated 23kms from Entebbe, near the equator in Lake Victoria, Uganda. It supports a rich diversity of natural wildlife (over 120 species of bird, hippos, crocodile, monitor lizards) and provides a variety of natural foods for the chimpanzees. The island is set up as an eco-friendly project with compost toilets, rainwater collection, proper waste management practices and solar energy (for electricity and hot water). The Sanctuary is a non-profit organisation which is co-ordinated and managed by the Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust. CSWCT is a partnership with seven organizations committed to the welfare and conservation of wildlife.
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The Chimp Population plummets! October 05, 2007 7:18 AM

Chimpanzees are our closest human relatives – they have family bonds, make and use tools and show signs of language – and yet, humans are wiping them out.

Wild chimpanzee populations have plummeted in the last 20 to 30 years, and face more threats ahead. The bushmeat trade (the unsustainable hunting of wildlife) is a root issue endangering chimpanzees. To make this practice even worse, orphaned chimpanzee babies are typically sold in local markets and often end up in the pet trade after watching their mothers being brutally killed.

Hunters remove more than 1 million metric tons of bushmeat from the Congo Basin forests each year. In only one year, 15,000 carcasses from wild species passed through the markets in the city of Brazzaville - approximately 293 of them were chimpanzees.

It's time the U.S. stood up against the cruel practice pushing chimps and other endangered species to the brink of extinction.

Tell Congress to discourage illegal bushmeat trafficking and other destructive activities - like irresponsible logging and mining practices - that contribute to it!  [ send green star]
anonymous  November 06, 2007 5:41 AM

i am begining to wonder if there are any wild animals that are NOT suffering.  this kills me.  [report anonymous abuse]
anonymous  November 06, 2007 5:41 AM

this is all because of MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  [report anonymous abuse]
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