Are Chimpanzees Endangered?
Many people have often asked the question: Are chimpanzees endangered? In recent years, chimps have been considered an endangered species. This is a condition for which humans are largely responsible. But there are actually four main reasons why chimps are in danger of shrinking numbers.
Destruction of Their Habitat
There was a time when over one million chimps used to live in the forests of about 25 countries in Africa. Today, this number has decreased to below 200,000. In one recent census conducted on the Ivory Coast, the chimp population in this country had decreased by 90% in just a period of 20 years.
This drastic decrease started in 1960. Today, there are less than six countries in Africa that can house a healthy chimpanzee population. The rest of the continent is largely unable to sustain large populations of these apes.
The growing demand from neighboring human populations has created calamitous inroads into the chimps’ natural habitat. Every day, more and more forest land is destroyed as farms take their place. Some roads cut into the forests, which just further increases harmful human influence the chimpanzee population.
Chimpanzees are in most cases caught illegally and sold as pests. The young chimps are often loved due to their adorable appearance and therefore fetch a very high price. Unlike domesticated animals, such as cats and dogs, chimps are wild animals and they need to dwell in their natural environment.
People who live in and around forests hunt chimps for meat. Chimps are prized bush meat and are even exported to western countries such as England and France. It is estimated that about 4000 chimpanzees are killed each year for meat.
Chimps may die from diseases found naturally in their habitat. Humans also spread diseases and chimps can catch most of these diseases. Many chimps have died from human-borne illnesses such as Ebola and others.