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Chimpanzees

About Chimpanzees

Range & Habitat

Wild populations of chimpanzees are only found in Africa. Chimps inhabit 22 African countries, from the west coast of the continent to as far east as Tanzania. Today however, not more than 5 – Gabon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and potentially Cameroon – have significant numbers of chimpanzees.

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There are two species of chimpanzee – the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus). Within the Pan troglodytes species there are four subspecies of chimpanzees:

      • Pan troglodytes verus (West Africa)
      • Pan troglodytes vellerosus (Cameroon and Nigeria)
      • Pan troglodytes troglodytes (Central Africa)
      • Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii (Congo Basin)

 

Unlike Pan troglodytes, bonobos are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Chimps live in the greatest concentrations in tropical rainforests of what used to be the equatorial forest belt of Africa. Unfortunately, rapid deforestation has left only fragmented patches of forest where a continuous habitat once stretched.

Fortunately, chimpanzees are relatively adaptable and their habitats can vary considerably. Some chimps are able to move out into quite arid areas, such as southwest Tanzania and Senegal, where they are found in secondary forests, open woodlands, bamboo forests, swamp forests, and even open savannah. The type of environment that a chimp inhabits greatly influences its behaviour, and populations of chimps have developed distinct behaviours depending on where they live.

Learn more about chimp behaviours.

 

Even though chimps are capable of living in both terrestrial and arboreal environmental, chimps seldom venture far away from forests, except when moving from one forest patch to another. This is because they spend considerable time in trees, where they sleep, forage and socialize.