Chimpanzees are classified as endangered species, and most of the factors contributing to the endangerment of chimpanzees can be attributed to humans. By learning about the issues contributing to the decline of chimpanzees in the wild, we can all do our part to conserve the chimps’ natural habitats and protect the species at large.

Chimpanzees Today

Chimpanzees are currently found in only 21 countries in equatorial Africa. Since 1960, chimpanzee populations have declined by half, with just 150,000 chimpanzees remaining in Africa today, and numbers dwindling daily. The loss of chimpanzee habitats in Africa is primarily related to logging, hunting, mining, and infectious diseases – learn more about each of these issues and how you can help below.

Conservation Efforts

Chimpanzees are protected by local and international laws in almost all African countries where they reside. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is an international agreement between governments that ensures international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES legally binds the nations that have signed the agreement, although it does not take the place of existing national laws. By signing CITES, a country limits the import and export of these species.

Many chimpanzees are found in national parks, but chimpanzee populations are generally segregated outside those parks. There are efforts in some areas to link segregated populations to one another through the use of corridors. In Bossou, New Guinea, for example, there are efforts underway to create a forest corridor for the chimps that would link two separate populations of currently segregated chimpanzees.

In some areas of Africa, tourism has been very successful in bringing in money to the local area and encouraging conservation. Uganda and Tanzania both have had success in promoting ecotourism with a visit to observe chimpanzees as the main appeal. Many of these visits were paused in 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus.

What You Can Do

Factors contributing to the decline of chimpanzees build upon each other and ultimately create a domino effect. Dealing with one factor alone will not be enough to conserve the species, but we can all do our part to help the chimpanzees in a variety of ways, from simple to complex. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Support international and national laws governing endangered species.
  • Support sustainable ecotourism in range countries.
  • Recycle your cell phones, computers and other electronics.
  • Be cognizant of what you leave when you travel to areas where primates live. Be respectful of any rules regarding health issues, like wearing masks or staying a certain distance away from the animals.
  • Reuse, reduce, and re-cycle whenever you can.
  • Support organizations and people working with local communities in countries with chimpanzees.
  • Read, learn, and share what you know about chimpanzees.
  • Pay attention to your use of resources and rethink diamond, gold, and technology purchases.
  • Additional resources: