Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives and share nearly 99% of our DNA.
Standing between 1.3 and 1.6 metres a full grown chimp can weigh up to 65kg and have the strength of 6 men.
Chimps are very intelligent animals which like us communicate through hand and facial gestures and live in very complex societies.
Once found in forests all over Africa, these endangered animals are now holding on in smaller and smaller areas of habitat and need our help to survive.
Chimpanzee populations are being threatened due to a range of factors throughout Africa with habitat loss being one of the biggest impacts. Forests are being cut down for the timber, mining and farming industry and the resulting fragmentation of the forests results in chimpanzee families becoming isolated which can have dramatic impact on breeding and migration patterns.
Poaching of chimpanzee for the illegal pet trade and the bush meat industry continues to reduce chimpanzee populations throughout much of Africa. Some wild chimpanzees are also taken for traditional medicines and scientific research.
As humans and chimpanzees are so closely related, chimpanzees are susceptible to the same diseases that affect us. In some parts of Africa, diseases like Ebola haemorrhagic fever have had dramatic impacts on chimp populations.
Chimpanzees live in dry and moist forest areas throughout equatorial Africa.
The gestation period for a chimpanzee is eight months and the new baby will stay with the mum until weened at around three years of age. Even once the baby has been weened it will usually still have a very strong connection with its mother for many years to come.
Chimpanzees reach sexual maturity between 8-10 years and while single births are the norm, there have been incidences of twins.
While it is rare for Chimpanzees in the wild to make it into their 40s, in zoos , Chimpanzees can live into their 60s.
Chimpanzees are omnivores meaning they eat both plants and animals.
The majority of a chimpanzee diet is made up of fruit, but leaves, seeds, nuts and vegetables contribute to its variety.
Meat only makes up a small portion of a chimpanzee diet and is usually from small monkeys that the chimps are able to catch.
Termites are a big part of some chimpanzee groups’ diet, with small twigs and branches fashioned into tools to allow the chimpanzees extract the termites with out too much trouble. Chimpanzees have been know to use quite sophisticated tools including rocks for hammers and even leaves used as sponges.
A Chimpanzee group can range from five to 150 animals and may comprise of many families which come together at certain times of the year and travel in smaller groups at other times.
Generaly controlled by a dominant male, Chimpanzee society can be seen as being quite violent with disputes often solved with loud and sometimes ferocious arguments. However chimp society can also be very caring and supportive with members looking after family and friends.
Grooming plays a big role in chimp social life, being one of the ways chimps can improve the social standing and gain support from other members of the group.