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Chimpanzees are endangered! Here's why:

Updated on November 22, 2010

The endangered chimpanzee.

After reading information displayed around the chimpanzee habitat, I learned that the chimp is an endangered species and that their population had dropped significantly in the last fifty years.  I was disturbed by this news and wanted to find out more about why this had been occurring.  I discovered that this was due to three primary causes: loss of habitat, the bush-meat trade, and illegal capture and sale of baby chimpanzees.

            The primary cause of the chimpanzee’s loss in numbers is destruction of their natural habitat.  Chimpanzees are found in central Africa, which is an area stricken by political unrest, economic turmoil, and in some regions: genocide.  On this continent, there are many groups trying to develop their countries, or in some cases simply turn a profit.  This march towards progress and money often comes at the cost of cutting down the forests where chimpanzees live, in order to make room for farmland, mines, roads, or homes.

            Another leading cause of chimpanzee destruction is the bush-meat trade.  In many towns in Africa, it is common to see butchered chimpanzee and other primates sold as an inexpensive source of food.  This disgusting practice is both destroying primate populations and contributing to the spread of certain diseases among those that handle the bush meat.

            Yet another disturbing cause of chimpanzee endangerment is the illegal trapping and sale of baby chimpanzees.  Profiteers will go into the forest and steal baby chimpanzees from their families, in the hopes of selling them to inconsiderate pet owners for a handsome sum.  In order to kidnap the baby chimpanzees, hunters will often kill many of the adult chimpanzees that are protecting the babies.  This macabre scenario is about as inhumane as it gets, considering it is not a side effect of land development, or a way to feed one’s family.  Capturing baby chimpanzees in the wild is strictly a high profit, high damage industry.

            It does not look good for the chimpanzee or many other primates for that matter.  If things continue for the next fifty years as they have for the last, it is unlikely we will have any chimpanzees left in the wild.  It will take more than just increased awareness in the plight of the chimpanzees to make a considerable difference.  Instead, developed nations must take an active role in facilitating the proper development of unstable regions of Africa and militarily protect the last remaining primate habitats in the region.  Unless these extreme measures are taken, I fear future generations of chimpanzees will be found only in zoos.


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