- Chimpanzees are part of the Hominidae family, which they share with other great apes.
- They live in a variety of habitats in Central and Western Africa.
- They are most well-known for using tools (though many great apes use tools).
- They have complex family and social structures.
- A female will give birth to one chimp at a time.
More than any other ape, chimpanzees are known for using tools. Scientists have documented chimps using sticks to fish for insects, poking the twigs into the holes of ant or termite mounds and pulling them out, covered with wiggling food. Chimps also use stones to crack open hard-shelled nuts or fruits, and more recently, they have been seen eating and using medicinal plants after being injured or sick. They are not the only great apes to use tools, however, and their close relatives, like gorillas and orangutans, also are toolmakers!
Chimps spend a lot of time in behavior that can only be described as political. Every community has a dominant male, but his power is not absolute. He depends on support from his allies. Some activities, like grooming, help to cement social bonds. Meanwhile, less powerful males sometimes plot to overthrow the leader.
- Near Threatened
- Critically Endangered
- Extinct in the Wild
The Chimpanzee faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
Central and Western Africa
Rain forests, woodlands, savannahs
We care about chimpanzees
At one time, more than one million chimpanzees lived in Africa. Today, perhaps only 150,000 survive, and they continue to be lost at an alarming rate due to many reasons, including habitat destruction, the pet trade and the bushmeat trade.
Through the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Center for the Conservation of Congo Apes, the Zoo is working to develop conservation policies and local leadership to ensure the long-term survival of chimpanzees and gorillas in the Congo Basin. We also support chimpanzees in the Fragile Forest at the Zoo. Learn more about how we are helping chimps in the wild.
Find this animal in The Wild
SAINT LOUIS ZOO ZONE
You’ll find penguins, puffins, grizzly bears, gorillas, chimpanzees, to name a few. And while visiting, you can take a ride on the Conservation Carousel or hop aboard and ride the Zooline Railroad. There are also gift shops and eateries you can enjoy.