CZAAWE Resource Article

The Role of Behavioral Research in the Conservation of Chimpanzees and Gorillas
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Chimpanzees and gorillas are among man’s closest living relatives, sharing most of the human genetic code and having many similarities to humans in anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Like humans, these apes make and use tools and have strong family bonds. Chimpanzees even show population-specific behaviors similar to those of human cultures. However, chimpanzee and gorilla populations are in dramatic decline due to bushmeat hunting, habitat loss, and the varied risks of small, isolated populations. The first step in conserving the world’s ape populations in the wild is to recognize and understand the complexities of these threats. Mitigating the risks takes a deeper understanding of ape behavior. This article provides examples of how gorilla and chimpanzee behavioral studies intersect with, and are critical to, conservation efforts.