World chimpanzee day is on July 14, The day unites people all around the world in celebrating the incredible wonder and importance of Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are human closest relatives of all animals. The day honors the anniversary of when 26-year-old Jane Goodall first stepped foot onto the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Gombe National Park in 1960, Tanzania to study chimpanzees. and this is her message on the 14 July 2021 world chimpanzee day
Celebrate with us today to improve the understanding, protection, and welfare of our great ape cousins today and every day by learning more about Chimpanzees.
- Chimpanzees are one of four types of great apes, the great apes are: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orang-utans.
- Chimpanzees and humans share 95 to 98 percent of the same DNA. Biologically, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas.
- Chimpanzees are intelligent; they are one of the few animals that are known to use tools. This includes the use of sticks to retrieve termites from their mounds, stones to open up appetizing nut contents, and leaf sponges to soak up drinking water. Some chimpanzees have even been able to learn basic human sign language. Washoe, a captive female chimpanzee, was able to learn American Sign Language (ASL), with a vocabulary of 350 words.
- Chimpanzees are omnivorous but eat fruit more than anything else. Most of a chimpanzee’s diet comes from our bits of plants (seeds, leaves, roots, resin, etc) but they will also eat insects, honey, birds and bird eggs, mammals, and even soil. Chimpanzees sometimes hunt and eat small mammals such as bushbucks or monkeys.
- When chimpanzees are angry or frightened their hair stands on end. Male chimpanzees show their power in “displays.” Their hair stands on end so they look bigger, they scream, stamp their feet, and go on a tear, dragging branches, or hurling rocks. This may scare other chimpanzees and keep them from picking a fight.
- Chimpanzees communicate much like humans do — by kissing, embracing, patting on the back, touching hands, tickling.
- When a mother dies, her orphaned offspring may be unable to survive. But older siblings often adopt their orphaned brothers or sisters, and occasionally infants are adopted by chimps not related to them.
- Infant chimpanzees have a white tail tuft that disappears after their childhood.
- Chimpanzees walk on all fours and have longer arms than legs. They are called “knuckle walkers” because they use their knuckles for support. Although they normally walk on all fours (knuckle-walking), they can also walk upright on two feet if they want to. Chimpanzees have long arms, hands, and fingers, which help them, climb trees and swing from branch to branch.
- Chimpanzees are not meant to be pets; a full-grown chimpanzee has five or six times the strength of a human being.
- Chimpanzees are highly social. They live in communities of several dozen animals, led by an alpha male and his coalition of male allies. Male and female chimps have individual personalities, with females being more trusting and timid. Grooming is an important part of their social life, helping chimpanzees bond as they remove ticks and dirt from one another’s bodies and calm the nervous or tense chimps. Chimpanzees also laugh when they play.
- Females will reach reproductive maturity by age 13 and can give birth at any time of the year. Although not seasonal breeders females do have an estrous cycle, and the number of oestrus females in a group at any one time can vary by season. Similar to human females, chimpanzees come into oestrus about once a month, but it lasts about 10-14 days and unlike humans, they exhibit large pink sexual swellings on their behinds.
- Chimps can be very aggressive. Groups of males will plan and execute attacks on other chimps, often causing serious injuries and fatalities. Fights for dominance within a tribe can also be brutal and often end in the death of an ousted male.
- Chimpanzees in the wild rarely live longer than 50 years. Captive chimps can live more than 60 years.
- Chimpanzees are endangered. There are probably between 172,000 and 300,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild. Numbers are decreasing because of habitat loss and fragmentation, killing for bushmeat, and the infant pet trade and disease.
- Most chimps live in rainforest areas on what used to be the equatorial forest “belt.” Sadly, the rain forests in Africa are being cut down, leaving only patches of forest where the belt once stretched continuously.
- Chimpanzees can catch or be infected with human diseases.
- Another great threat to the continued existence of wild chimpanzees is commercial hunting for meat.
Kibaale National Park in Uganda is one the best places in the world to see Chimpanzees in their natural habitat.