We’ve all heard the facts about evolution, whether you believe in it or not, and how very similar we as human beings are to the chimpanzee. They are our closest relative on Earth sharing 98% of our DNA with these animals! If these “siblings” or even “brothers” are so alike us, why are they endangered?

These great apes, definitely not monkeys, originally from Africa used to exist in the millions all over the continent. However, due to much destruction of habitats and hunting, their numbers have dwindled down to 172,700 to 299,700 revealing that the population has decreased 90% within just the past 20 years! Pan troglodytes, as their scientific name, live in forests of central Africa which are found to be moist and dry.

Pan troglodytes Chimpanzee A male resting in the winter sun on a tree Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Orphanage, Zambia

It’s crazy to think how similar these animals are to us! They walk normally, on all fours, but can stand and walk upright on their hind legs like humans for as far as a mile! As well as swinging from branch to branch within the trees where they live, now if only we could do that. Chimps are very social creatures, living in communities of at least several dozen as large as 120 chimps. They all gather together for social events and allow one male to be the alpha, with support from the females. These animals are smart enough to organize gatherings within their communities!

Lil' Connor hooting Feb 2013

When children see chimps in zoos or on TV they are usually laughing at the funny faces and noises they make (I am included). It wasn’t until I got older did I realize this is their form of communication. They have created a whole complex system of vocalizations, gestures, body postures, and facial expressions to describe their moods or send information through the communities. You’d think panting would be a bad thing coming out of these animals, but this is actually the way they said hello to one another. Another little quirk we smile and laugh at about chimps is the fact that they are always grooming each other! They absolutely love it! Its purpose is not only for cleaning but also building friendships between the monkeys.

Probable the most fascinating thing about chimpanzees is the fact that they have learned to use tools in their daily lives. Jane Goodall, a very famous scientist who devoted her life to the chimps, discovered one stripping the stem off of leaves and using the stem to fish for termites! These amazing creatures have used many more tools such as rocks for hammers, anvils for breaking nuts open, leaves for napkins and sponges, and sticks for probing or breaking objects open. How can such intelligent animals be on the verge of extinction?

Nigida (3)








There are many threats to the lives of chimpanzees including habitat destruction, hunting, and disease. As the human population increases, we are logging and expanding agriculture, destroying their habitats and homes. A sad truth is that hunting and poaching chimps has always been popular and are even used as a source of meat, thriving on the market for bushmeat. As we encroach closer to chimpanzees, we are not only destroying the home around them, but giving them diseases that may be mild for humans, but lethal to chimps. The Ebola disease has even spread, killing tens of thousands of these great apes.

With these apes being so fascinating and strangely so similar to our own race, how are we allowing this slow extinction to happen? Amazing animals like the chimpanzee are helpless in the face of our destruction and should be helped in order for their survival.


4 thoughts on “Brothers?

  1. I am such the monkey lover as well! I’ve seen various Jane Goodall documentaries and films. I remember one that I got the chance to see in the IMAX theater in the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh and it was the neatest thing every because it was like the chimps were close enough for me to touch them! Very cool experience. It is true that they are like our “brothers” and our family should not be disappearing like they are. I truly hate the fact that so many animals are becoming extinct and Ebola is affecting them now, too?! Simply horrible. If more people are as aware and informed as you, maybe something can be done to help!!!

  2. I love chimps and I actually didn’t know they were among the many endangered species. This is so sad! Especially because they’re so smart like you said. Chimps are so related to humans and the fact that we are destroying their habitats and pushing them to extinction is devastating. Hopefully, we can have more movements toward saving these animals. Great post!

  3. Yoooo JJ Heps! As a monkey lover myself, this post about chimpanzees was super interesting to me. I remember reading a book about Jane Goodall when i was little and that really opened my eyes to the amazing abilities of these creatures. Its so sad to think about how such intelligent and developed creatures are dwindling in numbers. We really need to do something about this problem before our “brothers” as you said, disappear. Since they are so genetically similar to us, I think that it is important that they do not go extinct because they could probably help to tell us a lot about ourselves. Also, I really was really surprised by that fact about Ebola. I had no idea that animals were being severely affected by it as well.

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