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World Chimpanzee Day: Celebrating our closest cousins

World Chimpanzee Day is dedicated to raising awareness about our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, with whom we share about 98 percent of our DNA. It is held on the 14th of July each year and was established by the Jane Goodall Institute

Dr. Jane Goodall is a world-renowned primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist, known for her long-term research on wild chimpanzees in Tanzania.

World Chimpanzee Day is an opportunity to celebrate the profound scientific and cultural significance of chimpanzees. It is also a day to advocate for worldwide participation in their care, protection, and conservation in the wild and in captivity.

On World Chimpanzee Day, people around the globe engage in activities that raise awareness about the threats to the survival of chimpanzees, such as habitat loss, disease, and illegal wildlife trafficking. They may also learn more about these remarkable animals, participate in conservation efforts, and share information to help inspire others to take action.

Remarkable creatures

“Through the groundbreaking research of Dr. Jane Goodall and the scientists who followed her, we now know so much more about the many behaviors, traits, and ecologies that make chimpanzees one-of-a-kind,” says World Chimpanzee Day’s official website

“Dr. Goodall was one of the first to share her observations that chimpanzees make and use tools, have a complex communication system and social structures, and can be altruistic. The more we learn, the more we realize how important it is that we celebrate our connection to these complex and intelligent beings.”

Highly endangered animals

“Chimpanzees are highly endangered. One hundred years ago, there were an estimated 1-2 million chimpanzees across twenty-five countries in Africa. Today, there are as few as 350,000 wild (high estimate) chimpanzees across the continent of Africa.”

“We must each do our part to turn those numbers around. Together, by providing holistic solutions to end habitat loss, illegal wildlife crime, and disease transmission, we can give chimpanzees a fighting chance.”

Variety of threats

Habitat loss and fragmentation

Much of the chimpanzee’s natural habitat in Africa has been destroyed due to human activities such as logging, mining, and agriculture. As forests shrink, chimps are forced into smaller and smaller areas. Habitat fragmentation can also lead to isolated populations that may struggle to maintain genetic diversity.

Poaching and bushmeat trade

In some regions, chimps are hunted for their meat, which is sold on the black market as “bushmeat.” Infants are also sometimes captured and sold into the illegal pet trade, often after their mothers are killed.


Chimpanzees share about 98% of their DNA with humans, which makes them susceptible to many of the same diseases we are. Diseases can spread rapidly and have devastating effects on chimp populations. The transmission of diseases is facilitated by increased contact with humans as their habitats shrink.

Climate change

Changes in climate patterns can affect the availability and distribution of food resources, causing further strain on populations.

Efforts are ongoing worldwide to protect and conserve chimpanzees, through habitat preservation, legal protection, and educating people about the plight of these intelligent and complex creatures.

Key characteristics 

Tool use and culture

Chimpanzees are known for their sophisticated use of tools, which is a behavior previously thought to be exclusive to humans. They use sticks to “fish” for termites, rocks to crack open nuts, and leaves as sponges or spoons to drink water. Furthermore, different groups of chimpanzees have different tool use behaviors and social practices, which is considered a form of culture.

Complex social structures

Chimpanzees live in communities of 20 to 150 individuals. Their social structure is a fission-fusion society where sub-groups change in composition, splitting and recombining based on factors like food availability and social interactions.

Communication skills 

Chimpanzees have a rich array of communication methods. They use a wide variety of vocalizations, facial expressions, postures, and gestures to communicate with each other. Some chimpanzees have also been taught to use human sign language.

Emotional depth

Chimpanzees show a wide range of emotions that are similar to human emotions, including joy, anger, grief, and empathy. They are capable of strong bonds between family members and friends, and they comfort and reassure each other in times of stress.

Problem solving

Chimpanzees exhibit a remarkable ability to solve problems. This is often demonstrated in their foraging strategies and their use of tools to obtain

Use the hashtag #WorldChimpanzeeDay on social media to tell the world why you are passionate about chimpanzees.


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