Updated: Nov 15, 2022
Today is World Chimpanzee Day, a day on which we should join hands to conserve and protect these great apes for generations to come. They are our closest relatives yet their numbers are diminishing everyday due to several reasons that include habitat loss related to deforestation and climate change. Tourism in Africa is playing an integral role in the protection of these apes, for instance in Tanzania and Uganda, chimp tracking fees go directly into the conservation and protection of chimpanzees and their habitats.
As we raise awareness about the need to conserve and protect mountain Gorillas, we share 10 interesting facts less known about Chimpanzees. Grab your cup of coffee and enjoy this 2mins read!!
1. Chimps share around 98.7% of the human DNA making them their closest human relatives of all primate species in existence
2. Wild Chimpanzees can only be found in Africa and are located in about 21 countries with majority in Central Africa.
3. Chimpanzees have the ability to learn human language such as sign language especially those in captivity and some habituated wild chimpanzees.
4. They are one of the few animals that are known to be use tools, much like humans, chimps utilize self-made tools in order to feed or protect themselves and have ingenious ways to do it.
A chimpanzee using a stick to reach termites ©DLILLC/Corbis/VCG/Getty
5. Chimpanzees are omnivorous however sometimes are happy to eat most foods, they tend to eat more fruit than any other food groups. Most shockingly of all, chimpanzees have been documented hunting other primates, and even committing cannibalistic infanticide.
However, the average chimpanzee diet is mostly fruit and plant matter, with insects and meat contributing just 2% of the total.
Eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), eating Red colobus monkey (Colobus badius). © Auscape/Getty
6. Chimpanzees live in fission-fusion societies meaning the size and composition changes over time – that breaks off in smaller, often interchangeable groups comprised of members of 20-120 individuals & can have strict hierarchies, with just one dominant alpha male as the leader.
A chimpanzee family. ©tane-mahuta/Getty
7. Female chimpanzees only give birth in 5 years, and kids can cling to mothers’ fur and enjoy the ride on the back from ages of 3-5 when they can start foraging and living on their own and this results into a close familial bond even after reaching Maturity
8. Chimpanzees can live Up to their 80s. The oldest recorded chimpanzee was Little Mamma, a captive female who was between 76 & 82 years old when she died in 2017. However, the average life expectancy of captive chimps is 38 years old. Chimpanzee lifespan in the wild has for a long time proved to be more difficult to record but one research has shown chimps living at Ngogo in Uganda’s Kibale Forest national park to have an average life expectancy of 33 years.
40-Year-old female chimpanzee named ‘Sandi’ in Gombe national Park, Tanzania
9. They can Walk on Two legs
Chimps get around by a lot of climbing and swinging from tree to tree. Chimpanzees usually walk on all fours, otherwise known as knuckle-walking, but have been recorded to walk on two feet on the rare occasion.
©Cheryl Ramalho Getty images
10. Chimpanzees are Currently an Endangered Species
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has declared the chimpanzee an endangered species. Due to increased human activities such as logging, mining, oil extraction and highway projects, the natural habitats of chimpanzees have significantly degraded and impacted.