Pan Troglodytes Verus (Western Chimpanzee)

March 1, 2017 by Caldwell

The Pan troglodytes verus (Western Chimpanzee) is another subspecies of the commonly found chimps in the African region. This subspecies is also called the West African chimpanzee due to their habitat which is found in the western region of Africa such as Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire and other surrounding counties.

Just like other chimpanzees they are both terrestrial and arboreal, meaning that they spend most of their time on the trees and on the ground. But during the night they climb to trees where they build their nest to sleep. Just like humans, they are very protective and live in communities of up to 200 members but they travel in small groups. They are also susceptible to the diseases that commonly plague human beings due to the similarities in the physiological and genetic structure of chimpanzees and humans. Most body parts of the Pan troglodytes verus (Western Chimpanzee) is covered with hair except for the palms of their hands, soles of their feet, fingers and face.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach is the one who coined the term Pan troglodytes in his book Handbook of Natural History which was published back in 1779. Pan comes from the Greek god Pan while troglodytes mean cave-dweller, also in Greek terminology. The last term in it’s the scientific name of the western chimpanzee is attributable to Ernst Schwarz in 1934.

Chimpanzee

Western chimps’ population once stretched over from the southern part of the Senegal up to the Niger River, but nowadays, the largest populated area of the Pan troglodytes verus (Western Chimpanzee) are located in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire. According to the International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN), other population of the western chimpanzee still survives in Mali, Sierra Leone and Liberia; and in Nigeria and Guiniea-Bissau regions according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). The presence of Pan troglodytes verus (Western Chimpanzee) in Nigeria is not yet confirmed by the IUCN.

According to these two organizations that concern on nature, relict populations of the western chimpanzee still live in Senegal, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and in Burkina Faso. But there is also the possibility that Pan troglodytes verus (Western Chimpanzee) is already extinct in the forest regions of Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and Gambia.

Just like the other subJust like the other subspecies of the chimpanzees, the Pan troglodytes verus (Western Chimpanzee) is also listed in the 2007 Red List of Threated Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered. The estimated number of the western chimpanzees in the wild is between 21,300 and 55,600, and they are expected to decline in the coming years due to some factors such as development, intrusion of humans in their natural habitat and poaching for their meat.

Due to this fact, it is best that humans have the initiative in saving this subspecies in order for the next generation to still see this creature. The loss of this special part of the ecosystem will do a lot of damage to the balance in the nature.

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