Great apes | WWF
© naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF

Great Apes

In both Africa and Asia, great apes – bonobos, eastern and western gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans – are rapidly losing much of their forest habitat to human activities such as agriculture, mining, and commercial logging.

Many African great ape populations are found in areas where civil wars are raging, making conservation difficult if not impossible. The hunting of forest animals for bushmeat, once a subsistence activity, has become a major commercial enterprise throughout west and central Africa.

Habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as susceptibility to disease, also threaten some species and populations.

Asia's only great ape, the orangutan, is also in deep trouble. Its last remaining strongholds in the rainforests of Sumatra (Indonesia) and the island of Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia) are being destroyed by illegal logging, a proliferation of palm oil plantations, and by widespread forest fires, many set by plantation owners.

Find out more:
 
    © Martin Harvey / WWF
Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Orphanage, Zambia.
© Martin Harvey / WWF
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Key facts
Scientific name

Species

Pan paniscus (Bonobo); P. troglodytes (Chimpanzee); Gorilla beringei (Eastern Gorilla); G. gorilla (Western Gorilla)

Population

Population

A few hundred to a few tens of thousands, depending on the subspecies

Geographic place

Habitat

Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf, semi deciduous and dry forests and montane woodlands in central Africa and southeast Asia

Endangered

Status

Endangered to Critically Endangered

Priority species

Great apes are a WWF priority species. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. As such, we are working to ensure great apes can live and thrive in their natural habitats.

Male silverback Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla); Male Bornean orang-utan (Pongo ... rel= © Left to Right: naturepl.com/T.J. Rich / WWF; David Lawson / WWF-UK; Russell A. Mittermeier / WWF; Martin Harvey / WWF

What is WWF doing? 

In collaboration with governments, communities and partner organizations, WWF is working in Africa and Asia to save the great apes and their habitats.

» WWF African Great Apes Programme
» Work on orangutans
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