Chimpanzees are species of great apes staying in the rain forests, woodlands, and savannahs of tropical Africa. Just like bonobos and mountain gorillas, chimpanzees are closest relatives to human beings sharing 98% DNA with human beings. In chimpanzees when the mother dies when the infant is still young, the older females adopt the baby and take good care of it until its mature enough.
The average lifespan of a chimpanzee is 50 years of age in the wilderness and about 60 years in captivity, when a female chimpanzee gives birth to her first baby, she is usually unsure of how to take care of the newborn baby but learns from the older female chimpanzees that have babies.
Chimpanzees normally do not take long-term partners therefore, there is no competition when choosing another chimpanzee to mate with. Mating between chimpanzees normally takes 10-15 seconds and this can happen while doing another activity such as eating.
During the 19th century, the world had over 1000,000 chimpanzees staying in the wilderness but today numbers have reduced to 300,000 surviving due to the threats from human beings with poaching for bushmeat and pet trade, habitat destruction due to agriculture and human settlement, diseases such as Ebola have also led to a reduction in the number of chimpanzees for the past years.
Species of chimpanzees
Chimpanzees are subdivided into four species and these include
The central chimpanzee species are also known as tschego (pan troglodytes troglodytes). These species of chimpanzees can be found in tropical moist forests and wet savanna woodlands of DR Congo, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Southeast Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and Angola, but also to a lesser extent, in other regions
Central chimpanzees are on IUCN red list of endangered species with only about 115,000 individuals left in the whole world and it attributes this to political instability and increasing human presence (agriculture, development, and deforestation). The major threats to this species are Ebola Virus disease, poaching for bushmeat, habitat destruction for agriculture and shelter as well as deforestation. The male central chimpanzees on average weigh 0kgs while the females weigh 46kgs
The eastern chimpanzees are also known as pan troglodytes schweinfurthii are subspecies of the common chimpanzees staying in forests of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, DR Congo, and the Central Africa Republic. The 2007 IUCN red list classified eastern chimpanzees as endangered species and recent declines are expected to continue. The male eastern chimpanzees can weigh up to 65 kgs while the females can weigh up to 40kgs. Eastern chimpanzees are covered with coarse black hair apart from the face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. These chimpanzees spend both of their time on the ground and trees but during the night they build their nests and sleep on trees. They are peaceful creatures but they will react with loud screams and use an object they can get against the threat. Eastern chimpanzees are omnivorous and eat mainly seeds, leaves, fruits, barks, termites, and small prey.
Western chimpanzees or Pan troglodytes verus are also known as the West African chimpanzees. They can only be found in Western Africa mainly Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The primary threat to these species is habitat loss although they are killed for bushmeat. There are about 55,600 species of chimpanzees left in the whole world. They feed on vegetation and meat because they hunt for green monkeys, bushbabies, banded mongoose, patas monkeys, and guinea baboons.
Nigerian- Cameroon chimpanzees
Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees or pan troglodytes ellioti are subspecies of a common chimpanzee that inhabits the rain forests along the border of Cameroon and Nigeria. This species of chimpanzees is the most threatened of all species of chimpanzees. The species live in Mbam Djerem national park in Cameroon, Ebo Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameroon, Gashaka-Gumi national park, and Ngel Nyaki forest reserve in Nigeria as well as Banyang-Mbo wildlife sanctuary in Cameroon. These species of chimpanzees can weigh up to 70 kilograms while the females are a bit smaller.
All the above species of chimpanzees look the same at first sight and only differ in a few things and habitats.