Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

A chimpanzee apocalypse in Tanzania?


Tanzania's chimpanzee population has plummeted by more than 90 percent, from 10,000 a few years ago to just 700 today, according to a report from the Tanzania National Parks Authority.

The Parks Authority blamed disease and predation -- by humans and other mammals -- for the dramatic losses. The country's chimpanzees are located in just two habitats, making them highly susceptible to population-destroying illnesses.

Of course, Tanzania's economy is highly dependent upon both agriculture and mining, which the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species blames as the top reason for chimpanzee population declines throughout Africa.

Tanzania is one of the few homes of the Eastern Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), one of four subspecies of the Common Chimpanzee. Even though the Common Chimpanzee is the most "common" great ape after humans, all chimpanzees populations are declining and the they are considered endangered by the IUCN Red List.

Image: Chimpanzee, via Stock.xchng

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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