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For a long time, scientists thought human beings were the only ones who made and use tools. But chimpanzees and some birds can do it too. For example chimpanzees of the Tai Forest in Cote d'Ivoire crack open nuts with rocks.

Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, sharing 98.7 percent of our genetic blueprint

Humans and chimps are also thought to share a common ancestor who lived some seven to 13 million years ago. Chimpanzees are among bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans one of four types of “great ape.” Chimps can be found in about 21 African countries, mostly in central Africa. Our most related species on the planet faces several challenges.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed chimpanzees as endangered for the first time in 1996. The Jane Goodall Foundation estimates there are between 172,000 and 300,000 chimpanzees left in the wild, a far cry from the one million that existed at the turn of the century. One of the four distinct subspecies—the western chimpanzee is considered critically endangered.


Poaching and habitat loss due to illegal logging, development, and mining continue to plague wild chimpanzees in their native habitats across Central and West Africa. Chimpanzees are more commonly hunted using guns or snares, while poachers often target new mothers in order to sell the adult as bushmeat and the babies as pets. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as many as 22,218 wild great apes were lost to the illegal trade between 2005 and 2011, and at least 64% of them were chimpanzees.

Wild chimpanzees only live in Africa

Threats are exacerbated by the species' slow reproductive rate—if an adult chimp is killed, it takes an average of 13 to 14 years to replace them with a breeding individual. And chimpanzees are susceptible to infectious diseases, too. Since the 1980s, the Ebola virus has killed them in significant numbers.

Sustainably managed ecotourism programs, which focus on teaching travellers about conservation while also using raised funds to benefit the environment and local communities, have already shown success with other great apes (most famously, the mountain gorillas of Rwanda) and could potentially do the same for chimpanzees.



VAKOVAKO will soon fight to save the most endangered. 100 % of all donations given via our app to „MOST ENDANGERED“ area will by transfered to related NGOs. Let’s help them expand their activities together.

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