Africa loses more than 10 million acres of forest every year. This intense rate of deforestation is devastating Africa’s flora and fauna, and is perhaps the most serious threat to the survival of chimpanzees and other great apes. The disappearance of forested habitats makes it near impossible for endangered chimpanzee populations to access the resources they desperately need to survive.
The dense forest of Tchindzoulou Island is now home to 14 chimpanzees transferred from the original Tchimpounga sanctuary site over the last six months. Life has changed dramatically for these chimps. Today, they can roam freely, feeling the wet earth under their feet, smelling the scents from the lush vegetation, and listening to the island’s mysterious sounds while they explore their new surroundings.
- Biologically, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to another species of great apes—gorillas. In fact, humans and chimpanzees share about 95 percent to 98 percent of the same DNA.
- Chimpanzees can catch and be infected with human diseases. Read more on this topic.
- In the wild, chimpanzees seldom live past age 50. Some captive individuals, however, have lived past the age of 60.
Clearing of forests and woodlands has one of the most devastating impacts on great apes, leaving them in isolated, small populations that face edge effects and elevated risk of extinction. Satellite imagery and GIS are powerful tools to monitor chimpanzee habitats and threats even in the most remote, difficult to access areas. JGI has been a leader in applying multi-temporal, multi-resolution satellite imagery to map and detect change in the distribution of chimpanzee habitats in Africa from local to regional scales.