Sunday, April 26, 2009

Common Chimpanzee- An Endangered Species

Pan troglodytes, commonly known as Common chimpanzees, live in wide range of places. They prefer humid, closed canopy forests, montane forests, forests that are seasonally dry, and woodlands. Common chimpanzees mainly eat fruits, but their diets do vary depending on the time of year. Chimpanzees will also eat insects and sometimes birds and they have been known to hunt other monkeys, pigs, and antelopes. Some groups of common chimpanzees have been known to use thin twigs or blades of grass to get termites from their nests. A few chimpanzees have also been seen using wood and stones as tools to crack open nuts. They are capable of reproducing until the age of 40. Chimpanzees' gestation or pregnancy periods will last between 7.5 - 8 months. A chimpanzee will usually give birth to one infant but occasionally will give birth to twins. When the common chimpanzee moves on the ground it moves in a special position called knuckle-walking.

Common chimpanzees are an endangered species. There may be as many as 35,000 chimps in the wild, but destruction of their habitats, hunting and commercial trapping for the animal trade has greatly reduced their population. Illegal capture is one reason why chimps are endangered. Hunters in groups of about 2,000 kill about 4,000 chimps every year. Another reason that chimpanzees are endangered is because people are destroying their habitat.The number of chimpanzees in the wild has dropped steadily since 1960. At one time, over one million chimpanzees lived in more than twenty five countries in Africa. Now, scientists think that there are only 150,000 to 235,000 chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees are now protected by international law under the Convention (CITES). CITES ensures that the international trade of animals does not threaten their existence. There are other organizations, such as WWF, that work to develop and strengthen protected areas in Africa. They work to establish and protect places that are homes for endangered species. Also, the Bush Meat project has been established to at least try to stop the poaching of these animals. These solutions are helping some, however chimpanzees are still endangered. I think that there needs to be strict international laws in place to protect chimpanzees. This should not be a problem that nations choose to help with, they should have to. There also should be harsher punishment for poachers who are caught hunting any endangered species.

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