Size - Generally speaking Chimpanzees range from 74-96cm in length and 40-60kg in weight for males and 32-47kg in females.
Appearance - Black coat, a naked face and infants have this lovely white tail tuft. They also have pinkish to black skin on their faces, ears, palms of their hands, and soles of their feet. Bonobos, which are closely related, are generally lighter, a more slender build, red lips and the hair has a central parting.
Habitat - Mainly found in forest areas and in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Diet - Fruit, leaves, seeds, plant galls, animal prey including mammals, birds and insects. They also hunt other primates, especially colobus monkeys.
Life History - Gestation is around 8 months with sexual maturity being reached in males at around 13 years and females 11 years. Their life span is around the 50-60 year mark.
General behaviour - Active during the day and build nests in trees at night, the males are dominant within their social structure.
|Bonobo with hair parting and red lips|
|Chimpanzee with lighter skin.|
Tools Used by Chimpanzees:
Chimpanzees have been observed using a range of tools in the wild including:
- Chewing up leaves to make a spongy wadge and using it to drink rainwater from an inaccessible tree hole
- Cracking nuts with rocks or wood
- Using a leafy stick as a fly whisk also selecting sticks, stripping off the leaves and sticking it in a termites nest then eating them once they have grabbed onto the stick
- Making a sitting pad of leaves
- Using leaves as napkins to clean the body, dab at wounds to inspect bleeding, or to provide a clean surface to inspect or squash and external parasite, such as a louse
- Using objects as weapons, including branches as clubs and pieces of wood or rock as aimed projectiles
|Chimpanzee cracking nuts with log|
|Chimpanzee fishing for termites|
The Chimpanzee is classed as endangered and their numbers are estimated to be around 172,000 - 3000,000 (IUCN red list). In fact in recent years that are said to have been made extinct within Burkina Faso and this is due to the threats they face.
- Legal and illegal logging and habitat loss due to agriculture
- Poaching for bushmeat and to sell Chimpanzees into the entertainment industry, unfortunately around 10-15 chimpanzees are killed in the capture of just one
- Infectious diseases, especially the Ebola fever
- Armed conflict and civil unrest putting pressure on their natural resources which in turn increases the threats mentioned above
Dr Jane Goodall
I have taken this profile of Dr Goodall from the organisation she founded the 'Jane Goodall Institute':
"In July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is today Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars. But with her unyielding patience and characteristic optimism, she won the trust of these initially shy creatures. She managed to open a window into their sometimes strange and often familiar-seeming lives. The public was fascinated and remains so to this day.
Organisations working to save the Chimpanzee:
- Ape Alliance - an international coalition of nearly 100 NGOs working for ape conservation and welfare
- The Jane Goodall Institute - Founded by Jane Goodall in 1977
- Save the Chimps - The worlds largest sanctuary for rescued Chimpanzees
- Wild Chimpanzee Foundation - Protecting chimps worldwide
- Monkey World - Set up by the late Jim Cronin to rescue and protect Chimpanzees worldwide
Primates of the World, Ian Redmond, 2010