Chimpanzees, our close relatives, play a vital role in maintaing the diversity of Central Africa's forests. The large seeds they eat and disperse are too big for most other animals. Without them, and their fellow great apes and elephants, these forests would be irreversibly changed. Yet today, all four chimpanzee subspecies are endangered.


The main threats to chimpanzees are habitat loss, disease, and hunting, especially for bushmeat. These are exacerbated by chimps' slow reproductive rate—if an adult is killed, it takes 14-15 years to replace him or her as a breeding individual.

140 human diseases

Chimpanzees are vulnerable to more than 140 human diseases. As the number of people grows in and around their habitat, chimps are more likely to fall victim to illness.

Our Goal

With our partners, range state governments, and local communities, we strive to maximize our impact to protect chimps.

We do this by, among other things:

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Tackling Ebola

Among chimps and other great apes, the Ebola virus can have a devastating effect—the mortality rate is around 95%. Between 1994 and 2005, a series of outbreaks killed thousands.

To monitor Ebola in the Republic of Congo, WCS set up a vast surveillance network with locals. We've also created a lab in the capital, where rapid processing of samples can be done, greatly reducing the time between collection and diagnosis.

Why WCS?

3 subspecies

Of the four chimpanzee subspecies, WCS works directly on three.

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