The primates are known to be our closest ancestors. It is scientifically proven that these animals are extremely similar to us in many aspects. For example, we do not have a tail and have hands with a thumb distinctively isolated from the other fingers. The arrangement of our internal organs is also the same. Like humans, primates have different blood types and fall sick with the same diseases.
You can say that they are our relatives in a way. And yet humans choose economic profits over the conservation of our ancestral members. One important example is the chimpanzee population that is rapidly declining in Central and West Africa.
There are three main reasons why this is happening: habitat destruction, hunting, and disease. Firstly, humans are cutting down more and more trees for logging, mining, farming and land development. This means that chimpanzees will no longer have a place to live in and end up dying off. Secondly, more and more people favour chimpanzee meat known as “bushmeat.” In the past, only the Africans hunt these animals for their meat but now rich foreign people pay for this product. If the chimpanzees are not eaten, they are sold to cities where they are kept as pets. Lastly, a large amount of great apes, western lowland gorilla and the central chimpanzee, died because of a disease called Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Infected patients may suffer from headaches, fever, vomiting, and bleeding from eyes, ears, and nose. Most of these cases result in death. For more information on this illness, check out: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002315/
As always, there are ways to help the chimpanzees: buy sustainable wood and paper, FSC-certified forest products, that limit illegal logging, donate to organizations dedicated to conserving chimpanzees (for ex: the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada), and spread the word about this issue. For more information on how you can help, please check these following sites: http://www.janegoodall.ca/chimps.php
Everything you do to help the natural environment is always greatly appreciated. Please spare a couple of minutes and take a look at those sites to get familiar with what is really happening in our world. Be kind to the living things that make our survival possible.