Chimpanzees are the great apes most closely related to humans (they share 98% of their DNA with humans).
Chimpanzees have very long arms and a short body. The appearance is gracile and not bulky as in gorillas or orangutans.
Chimpanzees are covered with black hair on most body parts.
Chimpanzees have a slight brow ridge, large ears, small nostrils, and an elongated snout.
They have hands that can grip firmly, allowing them to pick up objects and use them as tools.
Seize, Weight and Lifespan
Males: 35-70 kg 90-120 cm
Females: 26-50 kg 66-100 cm
Lifespan: 60 years in captivity, 35-40 years in the wild.
Gestation 8.5-9 months.
Reproduction starts in the age of 12-13 years. Young chimpanzees are weaned from their mothers at about 4 years of age. The reproduction therefore is slow and populations need a long time to recover from sever declines.
The speed at which chimps are disappearing from the wild is much faster than previously predicted. Of the four chimpanzee subspecies, the pan troglodytes vellerosus population has dwindled to 8,000 an amount that does not support a sustainable population when factored against the increased impact of hunting and deforestation. Scientists give this subspecies a mere 20 years until the end of its existence.
Chimpanzees, monkeys, and other primates have the dubious honor of being highly-desirable "bushmeat". The bushmeat trade, although illegal, thrives in African countries, gaining in popularity to the tune of more than one million metric tons of bushmeat consumed per year. Within decades, the bushmeat trade alone could wipe out the chimpanzees and their subspecies. Demand for bushmeat has spread from rural, subsistence areas to urban areas. It is the biggest threat to the future of these endangered animals.
As if killing these beautiful animals for their meat was not enough, hunters target meatier adult chimpanzees, leaving behind orphans to fend for themselves or perish.
Deforestation is an obvious threat to chimpanzee habitat; cutting down the trees and clearing the forests for crop land removes actual living space and food that the primates need to survive. But the timber industry's effect is more insidious than that. The roads that the logging companies cut into the forests bring bushmeat hunters right to the chimps' doorstep. The temptation to make quick and easy cash has caused many truck drivers to do some of the hunting themselves.
It is estimated that at this rate of development, more than 90% of primate habitats in Africa will be gone within 25 years.
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