• Status
  • Population
    172,700 to 299,700
  • Scientific Name
    Pan troglodytes
  • Habitats
    Forests (moist and dry forests), Savannah Woodlands, and Grassland-Forest mosaics

Like us, chimps are highly social animals, care for their offspring for years and can live to be over 50. In fact, chimpanzees are our closest cousins; we share about 98% of our genes.

In their habitat in the forests of Central Africa, chimpanzees spend most of their days in the treetops. When they do come down to earth, chimps usually travel on all fours, though they can walk on their legs like humans for as far as a mile. They use sticks to fish termites out of mounds and bunches of leaves to sop up drinking water.

Largest ever study of gorillas and chimpanzees finds more than expected

Results from the largest ever research study of gorillas and chimpanzees in Western Equatorial Africa show population numbers higher than first believed, but their future still remains in peril.

Why They Matter

  • Despite our shared lineage, humans are pushing chimpanzees toward extinction. Chimps have already disappeared completely from four countries and are under tremendous pressure everywhere else they live.


  • Population 172,700 to 299,700
  • Extinction Risk Endangered
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Pan troglodytes Chimpanzee A male resting in the winter sun on a tree Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Orphanage, Zambia


Disease also stalks chimpanzees: Ebola outbreaks have killed tens of thousands of great apes.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

Poaching is another prominent threat. Bushmeat has always been a primary food source in Central and West Africa, but in recent years poaching has become commercialized to satisfy the appetites of wealthy urban residents. Infant chimpanzees are frequently taken alive and sold in cities as pets.

What WWF Is Doing


WWF establishes, strengthens, and manages protected areas in Central and West Africa. In Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Cameroon and other countries, we:

  •   protect chimpanzees through antipoaching and effective law enforcement
  •   help governments establish and manage national parks
  •   monitor chimpanzee populations
  •   encourage sustainable use of forest resources in park buffer zones
  •   build trans-boundary collaboration to develop partnerships between neighboring countries

We also develop chimpanzee-focused ecotourism and work to stop illegal poaching in logging concessions. WWF continues to look for ways to reduce the impact of the bushmeat trade on apes and other endangered species.

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