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the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada - FOR WILDLIFE RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND CONSERVATION

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FAQs

Chimpanzees

  1. What is the difference between a chimpanzee and a monkey?
  2. What is happening at Gombe? Who is the newest chimp baby?
  3. How many chimps are left in the wild?
  4. What do chimpanzees eat and drink?
  5. Do chimpanzees fight with each other?
  6. Do chimpanzees swim?
  7. Are human beings descendents of apes?
  8. How can I get a chimp as a pet?
  9. What do I do if I know of a chimpanzee in an inhumane/illegal situation?

What is the difference between a chimpanzee and a monkey?

One of the biggest differences is that most monkey species have tails, whereas chimpanzees and other apes do not. Chimpanzees and other apes are much more similar to human beings in many respects.

What is happening at Gombe? Who is the newest chimp baby?

To find out more about what is happening at Gombe, please visit the Gombe Chimpanzee Blog. The blog will give you updates on the events at Gombe and any new births or findings about the chimps.

How many chimps are left in the wild?

At the turn of the century, at least one or possibly closer to two million chimpanzees were present in 25 countries across West and Central Africa. Now, only four countries have significant populations of chimpanzees, and probably no more than 150,000 chimpanzees are left across all of Africa. Habitat loss, bushmeat hunting, and poaching for infants are the three major causes for the decline of chimpanzees in the wild.

What do chimpanzees eat and drink?

Chimpanzees drink water. They eat fruits, nuts, seeds, blossoms, leaves and insects. Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzees also eat the meat of smaller mammals. Before Dr. Goodall's discovery, chimpanzees were believed to be primarily vegetarians.

Do chimpanzees fight with each other?

Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzees do fight. Chimpanzees even engage in a primitive form of brutal "warfare". In early 1974, a four-year war began at Gombe, the first record of long-term warfare in nonhuman primates.

Do chimpanzees swim?

In general chimpanzees do not like to swim. Chimpanzees have stocky bodies that prevent them from being strong swimmers. Many chimpanzees, however, enjoy splashing around and playing in water.

Are human beings descendents of "present-day" apes?

Humans are not descendents of chimpanzees, gorillas, or any other ape. But, if we believe in evolution, then we can imagine an ape-like, human-like creature that lived millions of years ago - a common ancestor to modern humans (Homo sapiens) and modern chimpanzees, gorillas, and so on. Louis Leakey sent Jane Goodall to Gombe because he believed the behaviour that is shared by humans and chimpanzees today might have been present in the common ancestor and, probably, the Stone Age hominids whose fossils he discovered.

How can I get a chimp as a pet?

We appreciate your interest in chimpanzees and your love of animals. However, the best way to help wild animals is to leave them in the wild, where they belong. Though they are cute and cuddly when they are young, chimpanzees do not make good pets. They are wild animals, and when they mature, they can be destructive to homes, furniture, and backyards. They are strong and potentially dangerous. People who have had chimps for pets try to find ways to get rid of them when they get older and stronger. Usually, they end up in medical research programs.

What do I do if I know of a chimpanzee in an inhumane/illegal situation?

Thank you for wanting to help a chimpanzee in crisis. If you know of a chimp that you believe is being mistreated, please contact the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, We can refer you to an agency appropriate for the chimp's situation.