Is it true that chimpanzees can get COVID-19 from humans?
Is it true that chimpanzees can get COVID-19 from humans? : Yes, it’s true; chimpanzees can get COVID-19 from humans. Chimpanzees are some of the famous primate species in the region and the most sought after tourism primates after the mountain gorillas. A number of tourists visit Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo every year to experience these famous and endangered primates in their natural habitats.
Chimpanzees live in rain forests, where they make their home and get their food which is fruits, seeds, leaves, bark, honey flowers and insects. Chimpanzees live in communities of over about 15 to 60 individuals and these groups are comprised of females and their young and they are led by dominant male chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees share about 98% of their DNA with humans some would say if they weren’t animals they would be humans. Well they share such a huge percentage of DNA with humans that’s why they have similar behaviours like humans, like the way they nurse children, interact with themselves, the way they use tools among other things. All these characteristics show how they are similar to the humans in every way.
And the similarities don’t end there, almost 98% of the chimpanzees body make is the same as humans, meaning they can easily suffer the same health conditions as humans do. Hence the answer to the question above “Is it true that chimpanzees can get COVID-19 from humans?”
Chimpanzees can easily catch COVID-19 from humans and can suffer COVID-19 just like humans suffer COVID-19. That’s why all persons interested in chimpanzee trekking are required to observe all the recommended COVID-19 SOPs while on the trek. The COVID-19 SOPs are keeping a social distance of 2 meters between you and other persons, wearing your masks at all times, washing your hands with soap regularly or sanitizing your hands regularly and isolating from others as soon as you as you feel ill or start experiencing the COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
But even before the COVID-19 SOPs, all persons trekking chimpanzees were required to observe certain measures to keep the chimpanzees safe from contracting any disease.
These measures still apply to this day and are to be observed on top of the chimpanzee trekking guidelines which are:-
- Keeping a 7 meter distance between you and the chimpanzees
- Not using flash photography while with taking pictures of the chimpanzees or even when in the presence of the chimpanzees
- Not littering the chimpanzee habitat
- Not staring into the eyes of the chimpanzees
- Not doing anything that will harm the chimpanzees
- Not trekking when you are ill especially when you are suffering from a communicable disease
- Among other guidelines.
All these guidelines are to be observed by all those taking on chimpanzee treks at any time of the year at any of the chimpanzee habitats in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
In Rwanda chimpanzee trekking is done in Nyungwe forest in Nyugwe National Park, in the Democratic republic of Congo chimpanzee trekking is done in Virunga National Park and in Uganda chimpanzee trekking is done in Kibale National Park, Kalinzu forest, Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge and Ngamba Island with the highest number of chimpanzees in the region found in Kibale National Park Uganda.
Chimpanzee trekking is done all year round in all the three countries and costs for chimpanzee trekking permits vary from country to country and for Uganda prices vary from habitat to habitat depending on the management; however in Kibale National Park, a habitat that is run by Uganda Wildlife the chimpanzee trekking permit is 200 USD per person per trekking experience.