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The Pygmy Chimpanzee

Essay by   •  June 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,354 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,259 Views

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The Pygmy Chimpanzee

What are the first animals that you see when you go to the zoo, the monkeys! That's because monkeys are so popular. They are so cute and fun to watch as they jump around like acrobats in their cages. Monkeys are my favorite animal at the zoo and I'm very concerned that the Pygmy Chimpanzee is on the endangered list. But before I explain why the Pygmy Chimpanzee is on the endangered list and what we can do to help ensure the survival of this animal, I want to tell you some interesting facts that I learned during my research. Did you know that another name for the Pygmy Chimpanzee is Bonobo? Did you know the females take charge and keep lifelong bonds with their son and the son's dominance is based on their mothers place in the group? Did you know that when a daughter is old enough, she must leave the troop and find another one to join? The last interesting facts that I want to share is that Pygmy Chimpanzee was not formally found by scientists until the year 1926 and they are still the least understood of the great apes. Scientists think that Pygmy Chimpanzee's are the most intelligent of the primates, other than humans of course!

The Pygmy Chimpanzee is a primate. The weight of a baby is 2.8 pounds. The weight of a full grown male is 100 pounds and the weight of a full grown female is only 75 pounds. The length of the Pygmy Chimpanzee is 2 Ð'Ð... to 3 feet. They have black hair everywhere except on their face. Their face is black with bright red lips. They also have a white patch of hair on their back and when they get older the patch get's darker. The main difference between the common chimpanzee and the Pygmy Chimpanzee is that the Pygmy Chimpanzee is smaller with longer legs, shorter arms and a rounder skull and flatter face.

Pygmy Chimpanzees are found only in a small part of one country in Africa, in the tropical forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). The habitat of a Pygmy Chimpanzee is in the canopy of the Rainforest. They are nimble climbers and can swing from tree to tree searching for food. The Rainforest is the equivalent of an ape salad bar. Pygmy Chimpanzees use leaves and twigs to build nests in the forks of trees each evening. By all sleeping in the same area they can help each other look out for natural predators, but unfortunately there is not anything they can do to protect themselves against humans.

The diet of the Pygmy Chimpanzee is mainly fruits, but they also eat other plant matter, insects, and earthworms. These apes are so smart that they are able to fish for termites with grass stems, gather honey with sticks, crack open nuts with rocks, and sponge water out of tree trunks with leaves. When meal time rolls around, the community made up of about 50 apes, breaks up into small groups, called troops. Each troop heads off on its own path into the jungle in search of food. The troops often share the food they've found, and then gather together in larger groups to build their sleeping nests.

Surprisingly, Pygmy Chimpanzees only have one and rarely two babies. It's great that they can live up to 50 years, but that's only in a zoo. They Pygmy Chimpanzee's baby takes 8 months to form inside the mother, almost as long as a human baby! The infants are helpless and must be carried by their mother for two years, and then they are taught how to find their own food by going out with the troop. I couldn't imagine being carried around for the first two years, could you?

One of the reasons that the Pygmy Chimpanzee is endangered is because the rainforest is being cut down by the commercial logging industry and they have nowhere else to live. Another reason is because they have fewer places to climb away from natural predators like such as leopards and snakes. The biggest reason in my opinion is because illegal hunters, also known as poachers, hunt the parent apes for food (bush meat), and sell the babies as pets for people. Fortunately for the Pygmy Chimpanzee, the rainforest is now being patrolled to keep out illegal hunters. Sadly, there are few Pygmy Chimpanzees left in the wild and so they are considered the most endangered of the great apes. There are also very few Pygmy Chimpanzees in zoos.

The scientists think if they can keep both the Pygmy Chimpanzee parents and babies in captivity that they have a better chance of survival and are hoping that their population will gradually

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