“The subspecies of chimpanzee that calls Sierra Leone home is the Western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), which, to our great sorrow, is Critically Endangered. The next step from here is Extinct in the Wild, and we simply cannot let that happen,” according to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary movement.
The movement says that creating a brighter future for Sierra Leone’s chimpanzee population is about more than just protecting the chimps themselves, adding “we cooperate with communities across the country to educate, provide access to sustainable livelihoods, and conserve important areas of forest habitat”
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says chimpanzees have already disappeared from 4 African countries, and are nearing extinction in many others. Deforestation and commercial hunting for bushmeat are taking a terrible toll on most populations.
Chimpanzees are highly social animals. Their communities consist of loose and flexible groups of males and females (fusion-fission societies) within a fixed home range, led by a dominant male. Members join and leave these communities freely, depending among other on their reproductive status and the availability of resources.
Apart from the dominant leader, there are also groups of individuals with some level of authority. Communities of about 50 individuals each have been reported in forest, woodland and savanna habitat, but overall size range is around 15-80.
Subgroups may include solitary individuals or diverse groups of both sexes and all ages. These aggregations are temporary and constantly change in composition, regardless of gender and age.