Chimpanzees in Tanzania are under constant threat. That’s why chimpanzee protected areas are created to protect the chimps from getting extinct.
On July 2, 2018, Easy Travel owner Sayyedah Hirji Gulamhussein watched in awe as world-famous primatologist-anthropologist Dr Jane Goodall stepped on stage in Arusha, Tanzania, to deliver a riveting speech about her life’s work and love: chimpanzees.
Sayyedah left feeling deeply inspired. It’s generally agreed that Jane Goodall is the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees. She has been an instrumental figure in wildlife conservation worldwide, most notably in East Africa. Goodall has dedicated her entire life to studying, understanding, and caring for the welfare of our closest nonhuman relatives, and the bulk of her chimpanzee studies occurred in, yes, Tanzania.
July 14, 2018 is the First-Ever World Chimpanzee Day. To honor Jane Goodall and these incredible animals, we are dedicating a post entirely to the chimpanzee, our closest cousin on the tree of life. To this day, Tanzania remains one of the best places on Earth to spend time with these chimps. So here it is, all the need-to-know info about chimpanzees, just for you.
How Jane Goodall fell in love with chimps (and Tanzania)
Before we dive into chimp life, here’s your two minute history on Jane Goodall: Goodall was born in London, England in 1934. In her early twenties, she visited a family friend’s farm in Kenya’s highlands, and this began a lifelong love affair with East Africa. Goodall would later connect with famous archaeologist Louis Leakey, who hired her as secretary and sent her to the Olduvai Gorge (site to the earliest known evidence of our human ancestors; a recommended stop on Easy Travel tours!) and, later, to Gombe National Park, in 1960. Back in England, after receiving her PhD in ethology Goodall would return to Tanzania and spend years studying chimpanzee behavior, thus setting into motion one of the longest scientific research projects in the world.
She would later go on to establish the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977. Today, Goodall travels over 300 days a year as the world’s foremost advocate for wildlife conservation. Watch this breathtaking video of Jane Goodall assisting in a chimpanzee reintroduction program:
Introducing the chimpanzee
- Species Name: Pan troglodytes. The genus Pan includes both the chimpanzee and bonobo. Both are endangered.
- Average Lifespan: 45 years in the wild. The oldest known chimpanzee was 79 years old. (source)
- Size: 5 – 5.5 feet (1.5 meters) 70-130lbs (32-60kg)
- Range: Native to sub-Saharan Africa, some found in Northern Africa.
- Estimated Population: 170,000 – 300,000 in the wild.
5 things to know about chimpanzees
1. They are our closest nonhuman cousin
Google something like: “what animal is our closest relative?” You know what comes up? Chimpanzees. Well, the Great Apes come up—chimps, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas. 98% of our genes are shared with chimpanzees. Humans are to chimpanzees as horses are to zebras—we’re that similar! Mind officially blown.
2. Chimps aren’t monkeys
Despite common misconception, the Great Apes are not monkeys, but, rather, of the family Hominidae, of which humans are part. Want to know a wildlife hack to know the difference between monkeys and apes? Check out their butts. Monkeys have tails. Great Apes don’t.
3. Chimpanzees understand death
Recent findings suggest that chimpanzees (like elephants) will mourn the death of kin. This is added to self-awareness, tool use, and warring factions as notable behaviors shared with humans: Here.
4. Their beds are way cleaner than ours
Not only do chimpanzees make their beds each night, but they also choose new locations and fresh materials, too. That’s right. Chimps will sleep in trees, and their nests are always far cleaner than the average human bed. (Source).
5. Tanzania: Ground zero for chimpanzee sightings
If there’s one place to visit chimpanzees in their natural habitat, it’s Tanzania. In Gombe National Park (Western Tanzania), there exists the most famous chimpanzee reserve in the world, again a result of Jane Goodall’s lifelong study and wildlife reserve.
Tanzania teems with an abundance of life that must continue to be respected and protected, like the chimpanzee. Jane Goodall’s work is far from over. Easy Travel is a committed outfitter to responsible tourism, and we strive to give back more than we receive. Take this approach and everyone wins.
Getting you there?
Interested in exploring chimpanzee habitat while in Tanzania? Our team can organize a tailor-made trip to Gombe National Park, and customize your trip to complement any other add-ons. From the more traveled Northern safari circuit to the most adventurous, off the beaten path destinations, like Western and Southern Tanzania, Easy Travel can meet you at any level of adventure.