July 14, 1960 is the day Dr. Jane Goodall first stepped foot in what is now known as Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, to study wild chimpanzees. This is why on July 14th we celebrate humankind’s closest living relative through raising awareness about the vital need for worldwide participation in their welfare, protection, and conservation.
Dr. Goodall called attention to these remarkable beings and to this day advocates on their behalf. This year, our aim is to showcase how fascinating chimps are! One thing you might not know about them is that chimpanzees have a unique form of communication using vocalizations. One of them is called a “pant-hoot,” a greeting each chimpanzee uses to say “hello!”. Chimpanzees can also learn from one another and develop individual cultures. Beyond these truly amazing behaviours, chimpanzees play a vital role in their ecosystems as seed dispersers – they are known as the “architects of the forest.”
Another thing that you most certainly know is that 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. Together, by providing holistic solutions to end habitat loss, illegal wildlife crime, and disease transmission, we can give chimpanzees a fighting chance.
Raise your voice to #GiveAPANTHOOT for chimpanzees. With each of us making a difference, we can ensure a future for chimpanzees in the wild and in captivity!
To learn more about World Chimpanzee Day and these incredible creatures, visit www.worldchimpanzeeday.org.
Text: Romina Vateva