Arusha Times (Arusha)

6 June 2009

Tanzania: Tanapa Says Chimps On Verge of Extinction

Arusha — The rare score of chimpanzees currently numbering at about 700 are the next endangered animal species in Tanzania after rhinoceroses, the Tanzania National Parks Authority has revealed.

Speaking in his office recently, the Director General of TANAPA Gerald Bigurube revealed that there are 600 chimps at Mahale which is the highest number at any location with 100 others at Gombe, but being susceptible to diseases, including those affecting humans and hounded by more than fair share of predators, the chimpanzees are rapidly disappearing.

Previously Tanzania had as many as ten thousand chimps and the rapid fall to less than a thousand is now raising alarm.

The Director General stressed the importance of ensuring the animals' safety through proper health services, nutrition and protection in order to save them from disappearing like it was the case with Rhinos that the country is now struggling to replenish.

Mr. Bigurube was speaking during the occasion to receive a pack of three Rhinoceroses that were brought from Czech Republic to boost the number at Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary breeding establishment which after the receiving the three animals now has nine black rhinos.

"Other than the chimps so far Tanzania is in no danger of losing its other wildlife species and there have been no animal which had totally disappeared in history of wild animals apart from the dinosaurs whose remains were found within Tabora vicinity," stated Mr. Bigurube.

Chimps on the other hand are threatened by a number of predators, including all carnivorous mammals, some human tribes and reptiles. They also suffer all diseases facing both wildlife and the human race.

Jane Goodall a British Primatologist devotes virtually all of her time advocating for chimpanzees and the environment and traveling nearly 300 days a year. Goodall is also a board member for the world's largest chimpanzee sanctuary outside of Africa, Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Goodall was instrumental in the study of social learning, primate cognition thinking and culture in wild chimpanzees and the inclusion of both chimpanzee species, and the gorilla as Hominids.

One of Goodall's major break-throughs in the field of primatology was the discovery of tool-making among chimpanzees during her study. Though many animals had been clearly observed using 'tools', previously, only humans were thought to make tools, and tool-making was considered the defining difference between humans and other animals. This discovery convinced several scientists to reconsider their definition of being human

Jane Godall and endangered chimpazees

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