Save Chimpanzees from Extinction
The speed at which chimps are disappearing from the wild is much faster than previously predicted. Of the four chimpanzee subspecies, the pan troglodytes vellerosus population has dwindled to 8,000 – an amount that does not support a sustainable population when factored against the increased impact of hunting and deforestation. Scientists give this subspecies a mere 20 years until the end of its existence.
Chimpanzees, monkeys, and other primates have the dubious honor of being highly-desirable "bushmeat". The bushmeat trade, although illegal, thrives in African countries, gaining in popularity to the tune of more than one million metric tons of bushmeat consumed per year. Within decades, the bushmeat trade alone could wipe out the chimpanzees and their subspecies. Demand for bushmeat has spread from rural, subsistence areas to urban areas. It is the biggest threat to the future of these endangered animals.
As if killing these beautiful animals for their meat was not enough, hunters target meatier adult chimpanzees, leaving behind orphans to fend for themselves or perish.
Deforestation is an obvious threat to chimpanzee habitat; cutting down the trees and clearing the forests for crop land removes actual living space and food that the primates need to survive. But the timber industry's effect is more insidious than that. The roads that the logging companies cut into the forests bring bushmeat hunters right to the chimps' doorstep. The temptation to make quick and easy cash has caused many truck drivers to do some of the hunting themselves.
It is estimated that at this rate of development, more than 90% of primate habitats in Africa will be gone within 25 years.
I Did This!
Get involved. Volunteer to support the research work and conservation efforts of the organizations that are working to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned chimpanzees, with the ultimate goal of reintroducing them to a natural environment protected from the bushmeat trade and the timber industry.
Go to the source. There are many opportunities to travel to Africa and reap the rewards of hands-on experience with chimps and their habitats. At the same time, you can get a first-person look at the complex nature of the threats to primate conservation.
The threats to chimpanzees are many, and the odds seem insurmountable, but there are many ways to make a difference, one person at a time.
Make a Difference
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