Chimpanzees are Mammals. We belong to the order of Primates. Our family is Hominidae and our genus is Pan.
We have black brown hair. Our face is bare except for a short white beard. Skin is fair and face, hands and feet are black. The faces of younger animals may be pinkish or whitish. We have long arms that are about 1 ½ times our height and they let us climb trees swiftly and swing easily from branch to branch.
We have thickset bodies, short legs, opposable thumbs and no tail. Our babies and infants cling helplessly to the mothers‛ bellies as we move around.
Female chimps like me mature when we are about 13 years old and males at 16.
We build nests using leaves and twigs and sleep on branches of trees. We also do most of our eating on trees.
We moms look after our young ones for about 5 years. The babies are then weaned off milk and taught to eat normal chimp foods.
We are omnivores. We prefer fruits, plants, berries, blossoms and seeds, but we also eat bird‛s eggs and chicks, insects, small animals and even tortoises.
Chimpanzees are very social creatures and live in informal communities that have between about 10 to more than 100 individuals. We usually walk on all fours (called “knuckle walking”) but we can also stand upright and walk like you!
Even our expressions and emotions, such as self-recognition, curiosity, sympathy, grief, etc are akin to human beings.
Strangely chimp yawns are just as contagious to them as they are for humans.
We are intelligent animals who can solve many problems you put before us and can also communicate using signals like you! We use tools to hunt and eat. Eg. sticks, grass, vines, and stalks to dig out termites and ants; stones to crack open shells and spongy leaves to soak up and drink water.
We chimps use medicinal plants to treat illnesses and clear germs from our stomachs. We have 32 teeth like you but more fang-like canines.
We can swim the breaststroke like you. And like all Primates including you, we too laugh when tickled! And did you know that, in tests and studies conducted on us, we have demonstrated the ability to learn and play games that need skill in recognizing and exploiting the behavior of opponents.
Our infants are also hunted, captured and sold as pets. Afterward, many of the victims get infected with human diseases and suffer. Eg. from 1980 the Ebola virus has killed many of us.
Alas! Our lifespan is becoming shorter as years go by because of loss of our natural habitats and poaching. Our conflict with humans arises when we try to rampage your land for some food. Sadly, we are also hunted for our meat (bush meat) which is popular in and around the areas we live in.
Currently, chimp females can live to about 39 years and males, 32 years. Some are known to live on to 40 years or even longer. In the wild, our average lifespan is about 40 years.
We are now in an ‘endangered species‛. World Chimpanzee Day is observed every year on 14th July.
Please remember that we are closely related to you and we need your urgent support and effort to protect us from being totally wiped out of the world!
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