About Blog

The reason I’m making this blog is because I feel strongly about the critically endangered animals that we could lose in our lifetime, the fact that the next generation might miss out on seeing or knowing about some of these species is worrying, like my generation did for the Javan Tiger. My aim is to raise awareness of this issue by focusing on a number of animals on the endangered species list. It is my hope that gaining public attention through my work, will inspire positive steps towards combating this ongoing problem.

Animals biased on the WWF's Top Ten Critically Endangered Species (http://www.wwf.org.uk/news_feed.cfm?3618/Ten-to-watch-in-2010)

Please note: This blog is for research and personal development towards a final piece for my University project.


© WWF Martin Harvey

Sharing 98% of our genes
All four subspecies of chimpanzee – eastern chimpanzee, western chimpanzee, Nigerian chimpanzee, and central chimpanzee – are Endangered, with western and Nigerian chimpanzees having the smallest populations and being the most threatened.

Chimpanzees share an estimated 98% of their genes with humans. Four subspecies have been identified, based on differences in appearance and distribution: western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), central chimpanzee (P. t. troglodytes), eastern chimpanzee (P. t. schweinfurthii), and the Nigeria chimpanzee (P. t. vellerosus).
 Their characteristic shape includes arms that extend beyond the knees, opposable thumbs, and a prominent mouth. The skin on their face, ears, palms, and soles of the feet is bare, and the rest of the body is covered with brown to black hair.
 Chimpanzees usually move on the ground, although during the day they mostly stay in trees, where they also sleep in makeshift nests made with vegetation. This species walks "on all four", but individuals can also walk on their legs for more than a kilometre. Young individuals sometimes swing from branch to branch. Chimpanzees eat with their hands, which they also use to throw objects at enemies and to create tools. Notably, they will poke a stick into a termite mound to feed on the insects, and crack nuts open.
 They forage during the day for 6-8 hours, with peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon. Depending on the fruiting times of the plants they feed on, activities may shift seasonally.
 There is a wide range of behavioural differences between groups from different regions, so the loss of any one group represents a loss of cultural as well as biological heritage.

Yellow = Western. Green = Nigerian-Cameroon. Purple = Central. Blue = Eastern
©Google 2010

Western chimpanzee

©WWF/CANON Michel Gunther
Habitat fragmentation has much reduced the original range of the western chimpanzee, and hunting for bushmeat has impacted populations. Between 21,000 and 55,000 individuals remain, mostly in Guinea and Côte D'Ivoire while only relict populations remain in Mali, Ghana, and Senegal. The subspecies is now extinct in Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo.

Central chimpanzee
©WWF-Canon Martin Harvey

Large populations of this subspecies are now found only where large areas of forest remain relatively undisturbed. The central chimpanzee is the most numerous of all chimpanzee subspecies, with a population of up to 115,000 individuals, mostly in Gabon, Cameroon, and Congo.  However, the subspecies has experienced drastic population declines due to commercial hunting and Ebola outbreaks. Loss of habitat also continues to be a threat.