Are chimpanzees at Risk?
Are chimpanzees at Risk? Chimpanzees are some of the most sought-after primates by tourists visiting the wild in East Africa especially in Uganda. These apes that share almost 98% of their DNA with human beings are very interesting to look at and observe as they go about their day to day life.
Like human beings the chimpanzees are social animals that live in families or communities of about 30 or more individuals caring for their young ones, feeding together and fighting for their lives together.
Chimpanzees live in forests across Africa in East and Central Africa and though they are not extinct they are considered endangered animals and them being endangered puts them at risk of being extinct if conservation efforts are not continued in the different areas of Africa.
The chimpanzees risk of being extinct is caused by a wide range of factors that include but not limited to:-
As stated the above Chimpanzees live in forests, their survival is therefore hinged on the forests remaining intact and flourishing so that they can have a favourable habitat to live in where they get shelter and daily food and have their daily life activities.
This however has become different in recent years are deforestation has increased in several parts of Africa, where people keep cutting down forests for timer or for land for domestic use and settlement.
The deforestation has caused great loss of forests where the chimpanzees are supposed to be living and because of that, there a worry that the chimpanzees will soon have nowhere to live hence cannot survive.
Chimpanzees are mainly herbivorous animals so they feed on fruits, shrubs, leaves, blossoms and others all these which are found in forests. But as stated above with the increasing deforestation in Africa, the forests are shrinking and that’s the availability of these different forest related foods for the chimpanzees is also decreasing; and when any living thing cannot find food to eat its very apparent that they cannot survive. This is true for the chimpanzees, if a time comes and they cannot find food they will die and that’s a growing risk.
Several diseases are known to severely affect chimpanzees to the point of death especially the young chimpanzees. These diseases include nephrotic syndrome, pulmonary diseases, cerebral diseases among others. Studies have shown that these diseases are on the rise in recent year and though some chimpanzees have healed and made a comeback from the different illness, the fatalities have also been increasing over the years. The diseases make the chimpanzees at risk of extinction if they continue getting the diseases and die.
The constant hunting of chimpanzees by humans for meat, for fun and for trade (especially the young chimpanzees), has greatly reduced the chimpanzees’ population in the wild and if these practices continue the population will continue to reduce and before we know it the chimpanzees will be extinct.
Global Climate change that has affected the weather seasons and the amounts of rain and sun that countries now receive have contributed to the current debilitating state of different forests which are supposed to be habitats for these chimpanzees. Because if the debilitating state of the forests, the trees in the forests are not as health as they were before to offer great shelter and food to the chimpanzees which puts the chimpanzees at risk of running of food and shelter and hence die.
Chimpanzees are peaceful animals and are rarely involved in animal fights with other animals; also because chimpanzees live in forests, not many wild mammals in the forests (most of them live in the savannah plains, so the chimpanzees don’t interact with other animal species on a regular. However since it’s still the wild, the wild mammals move around and the chimpanzees are usually prey on by large cats like the leopards that kill the chimpanzees for food. The predators normally hunt for the young chimpanzees that are more vulnerable.
The above six points are the reasons chimpanzees are at risk of extinction in the different parts of Africa and the best way these risks are being abated is through conservation efforts like anti-poaching campaigns, afforestation campaigns and chimpanzee trekking.
Chimpanzee trekking is when you trek the chimpanzee habitat (the forest) to find the chimpanzees and spend an hour in their presence. In East Africa chimpanzee trekking is done Rwanda in Nyungwe National Park, Uganda in Kibale National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Budongo forest and Ngamba Island.