Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
Population: 172,700 - 299,700
Habitat: Dry and moist forests
Height: 4 to 5.5 ft
Weight: 70 to 130 lbs
Diet: Omnivore - fruits and plants, insects, eggs, meat
Lifespan: up to 50 years
The chimpanzee is our closest living relative, sharing 98% of our genetic makeup. They live in communities of several dozen. They are highly social creatures and care for their offspring for many years. Chimpanzees are one of the few animals that use tools - utilizing sticks to dig for insects, rocks to smash open nuts, and leaves as sponges to soak up drinking water. They can also be taught some basic human sign language.
Although they typically walk on all fours, chimpanzees are capable of walking upright, on two legs, for up to a mile, like humans do. They spend most of their time up in the tree tops where they eat and are very efficient at swinging between branches. Their leafy nests are also built up in the trees where they usually sleep.
Females can give birth at any time of the year and reach maturity at age 13. They typically give birth to one infant that clings to its mother's fur and then rides on her back until the age of 2. Males are not considered adults until age 16, however.
Though chimpanzees and humans are closely related, chimpanzees have suffered greatly at the hands of humans. They are endangered and continue to be threatened by bushmeat hunters and habitat destruction. Poaching is a permanent threat because bushmeat is a primary source of food in West and Central Africa. In recent years, poaching has expanded to satisfy the appetites and desires of the wealthy urban residents. Infants are often captured alive and sold as pets. In addition, disease continues to plague the chimpanzee communities. Ebola outbreaks have killed tens of thousands of apes.