We’re very closely related to chimpanzees— over 98% of our DNA is the same. And we’re not just genetically similar species. We act a lot alike too. The Maryland Zoo’s website has all kinds of great facts about these amazing animals, and the more you read, the more you’ll see how much we have in common. For instance, chimpanzee parents nurture their babies for a long time, just like humans do, and grown chimps still stay close to their parents.
Even though we have a lot in common with chimps, that hasn’t stopped humans from causing them a lot of harm. There were between one and two million chimps in 1900, and now there are only 150,000. They are the victims of habitat loss, human-introduced disease, and poaching. One of the major dangers to chimps is being hunted for their meat. Chimpanzee meat, called “bushmeat,” is sold in Africa and around the world.
The Maryland Zoo is working to promote public awareness of bushmeat and to encourage people to take action against its trade. Visit the Maryland Zoo’s website for more information about what you can do to help chimps and other animals in need!