World Chimpanzee Day Celebrates Our Closest Living Relatives

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The Jane Goodall Institute global network of chapters and Roots & Shoots Offices celebrates World Chimpanzee Day, along with many other NGOs and individuals around the globe, in honor of the day in 1960 when our founder, Dr. Jane Goodall, first stepped foot in what is now Gombe Stream National Park to study wild chimpanzees. The day will be a celebration of our closest living relatives as being unique, inherently important and essential to their ecosystems, and the most like us in the entire animal kingdom. It is also a rallying cry to invite participants around the world to take action in efforts to conserve this magnificent species, and improve their well-being and care in and outside of captivity. Join the celebration and learn more at worldchimpanzeeday.org!

Why We’re Celebrating

Dr Jane Goodall opened our eyes to the wonder of this extraordinary species, our relationship to these beings and our responsibility to protect them. As Dr. Goodall called attention to the remarkable behaviors and lives of wild chimpanzees and continues to advocate on their behalf, we now carry the torch, taking that message and work to conserve this species even further!

WATCH Dr. Goodall’s message from the first World Chimpanzee Day last year!

What We’re Doing

To celebrate this momentous day, we commit to invigorating the hearts and minds of global audiences to learn more about chimpanzees, share care and excitement in order to drive action on their behalf. We hope to share our passion and love for chimpanzees through our work to expand knowledge of wild chimpanzees with continuing research in Gombebuild holistic conservation plans and actions for chimpanzees, their habitats, and other species, while developing sustainable livelihood options for community- centered conservation initiatives, and educating and empowering a generation of compassionate, chimpanzee-loving citizens around the world.

Chimpanzee Facts

Chimpanzees are Unique 

  • Chimpanzees move by knuckle-walking on the forest floor or swinging from branch to branch in the trees.  
  • Male chimpanzees put on displays by screaming and throwing branches and leaves to intimidate other males and appear more dominant.  

Chimpanzees are Important 

  • Because chimpanzees eat mainly fruit, they serve as a forest seed dispersers so that the fruits can continue to grow, making them important for the ecosystem.  
  • Chimpanzees consuming meat and serving as prey to other animals also illustrate their importance in the food chain.  

Chimpanzees are the most Similar to humans

  • Chimpanzees not only have a large brain like we do, but also a complex brain structure that allows for social behaviors and higher intelligence. 
  • When chimpanzees are born, they are dependent on their mother for up to 5 years to grow healthyand happy. 
  • Chimpanzees hunt in groups to strategically plan their capture and will often share food with members of their group. 
  • Chimpanzees communicate within their groups by making different vocalizations during play, hunting, and when making threats. 
  • Chimpanzees display emotions such as grief, anger, and affection.  
  • Chimpanzees are vulnerable to human disease because they can catch the same sicknesses as us and receive the same germs. However, your average common cold can be deadly for a chimpanzeebecause of the new pathogens being introduced to their immune system. 
  • Your typical cat or dog rely on smell as their primary sense, but chimpanzees, like us, rely on our developed sense of sight to navigate the world.  
  • Chimpanzees can be emotionally distinct from each other, giving them different personalities.  
Viena now undergoing quarenteen

Baby Vienna, a rescued chimpanzee at JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary

Unfortunately, Chimpanzees are endangered on the IUCN’s Red List. At the turn of the 20th century, there were an estimated 1-2 million chimpanzees across 25 countries in Equatorial Africa. Current estimates suggest there are now as few as 340,000 chimpanzees remaining in only 21 African countries. They suffer due to threats like habitat loss, disease, fragmented populations, and illegal wildlife trafficking. In captivity, many sadly remain in biomedical research facilities around the world, and are kept as illegal pets, in roadside attractions and unaccredited zoos. Together we must work to stop these threats, improve their well-being in captive environments, and save chimpanzees!

How to Get Involved

There are so many ways to become a part of the movement to protect chimpanzees! To start, learn more about chimpanzees by:

  • visiting our website and wiki, and share your knowledge with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter using #WorldChimpanzeeDay!
  • You can also sign up to become a Chimpanzee Guardian to support the care of our rescued chimpanzees, survivors of the illegal pet or bushmeat trade.
  • Sign up for our BRAND-NEW Gombe Science Heroes program! You’ll get your assignment in following along with groundbreaking research in Gombe, now the longest running wild chimpanzee study in the world!
  • Support our community-centered chimpanzee conservation programs here.

Sample Social Messages:

  • Twitter
    “On July 14 1960, Dr. #JaneGoodall @janegoodallinst entered Gombe, Tanzania to study the lives of wild #chimpanzees. July 14 2018, we celebrate #WorldChimpanzeeDay, to honor these highly complex beings & ignite action to protect them. Join me! worldchimpanzeeday. org
  • Facebook
    Example Post: Did you know chimpanzees share nearly 98.6% of their genes with humans? Through the groundbreaking research of @Dr Jane Goodall and those scientists that followed her, we now know so much more about all of the behaviors we share with our great ape cousins. Join me and @janegoodallinst in celebrating #WorldChimpanzeeDay on July 14th! www.worldch impanzeeday.org
    Event Page: https:// www.facebook.com/WorldChimpanzeeDay/

Pant-Hoot with us for WCD!
Chimpanzees greet one another using a vocalization known as a “Pant-Hoot”, something Dr. Goodall does at every one of her lectures. Record your best Pant-Hoot and post to social media tagging #WorldChimpanzeeDay @janegoodallinst ahead of July 14th for a chance to be featured on the day!


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Community Engagement Specialist at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology. She has a varied background including conservation, art, communications, digital media, design, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the need for storytelling. Through growing understanding and empathy, she believes it is possible to ignite positive change, every day.