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Chimpanzees at a Glance

Chimpanzees are members of the great ape family alongside gorillas and orangutans. Their living relatives also include bonobos, which used to be known as pygmy chimpanzees until it was discovered they had their own distinct lineage and formed very different societies.

Artwork by Mike Pickett
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

The number of recognised chimpanzee species


The amount of DNA chimpanzees share with humans 


One chimpanzee is killed or illegally taken from the wild every four hours

Chimpanzee Species and Status

There are four different subspecies of chimps currently recognised; the central chimpanzee, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, the western chimpanzee, and the eastern chimpanzee. The range of wild chimpanzees extends from the last remnants of rainforest in the Ivory Coast, through central Africa, and as far east as Tanzania. Unfortunately, all chimps are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It is estimated that there are approximately 170,000-300,000 chimpanzees left in the wild, but some populations, such as the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, are down to as few as 6,000 individuals. And all chimpanzees are threatened with loss of habitat, and the illegal wildlife and bushmeat trades.

Matt Armstrong-Ford
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Matt Armstrong Ford

“Chimps taught us we’re not separated from the animal kingdom, we’re a part of it.”

Dr. Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE. Founder – the Jane Goodall Institue & UN Messenger of Peace.
Will Fortescue
Chimp looking to right Adopt a Chimpanzee

How To Protect Wild Chimpanzee Populations

The biggest threats to chimpanzees are all human in origin. As well as substantial loss of habitat and a shrinking range across their native Africa, they are targeted in the prolific bushmeat and exotic pet trades. Often, poachers target younger animals for ease of capture and because young chimps fetch far more on the black market. But, as chimpanzees are highly protective and territorial, it is estimated that as many as ten chimps are killed for every one captured alive. And one chimp is illegally snatched taken from the wild every four hours.

DSWF works tirelessly to end these harmful trades. In Guinea, where the less studied and less known western chimpanzee resides, we fund a successful and ongoing education and alternative livelihoods programme that is helping shape the wildlife warriors of tomorrow, and changing attitudes towards chimpanzees in one of their native strongholds. We’ve also been able to expand this programme to reach even more schools across the remote and often forgotten region. This work has been shown to strengthen relationships between local communities and Guinea’s National Park authorities, enhancing a joint understanding of their precious natural resources and an enhanced understanding of the risks of engaging in wildlife crime.

Our work also concentrates on improving the environment for chimpanzees and protecting this vital wilderness area. Our ongoing work in Guinea also focuses on reforestation schemes, river sanitation programmes, and even a gardening project that provides sustainable food for the local community and a chimpanzee rehabilitation and release sanctuary facility.

You can help support DSWF and our vital long-term work to save the chimpanzee by donating or adopting today.


One Taken Every Four Hours

It’s estimated that up to 3,000 chimpanzees are taken from the wild every year. But that doesn’t account for the numerous animals (usually mature adults) killed in the wake of this illegal trade, or potentially butchered for bushmeat.  

These numbers are exacerbated by the chimpanzee’s slow reproductive rate. It can potentially take 10-15 years for a breeding adult to be replaced.  

As populations of some subspecies become increasingly isolated, this kind of assault on their numbers isn’t sustainable and will result in their extinction. You can help secure a safer future for a chimpanzee by adopting one today. 

Riccardo Maywald
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Primate Art

Founded by renowned wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd, CBE, DSWF continues his legacy and remains rooted in the art world. Today, through the sale of artworks varying from David Shepherd original masterpieces to the latest pieces from our Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition, we raise vital funds for the frontline projects we support.

Look out for our ‘Artist of the Month’ and ‘Art for Animals’ special events that often feature specific pieces centred around our chosen species.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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All donations will help us continue our vital work conservation work to protect endangered species and turn the tide on extinction.

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