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West African Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes verus


The West African chimpanzee is the subspecies of the Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). This is a robust ape, with long and powerful arms, rarely standing taller than 80cm - intermediate height among subspecies. Bodies are covered by black hair, except for their faces, hands, and feet; hair becoming grey with age. This bare skin is pink on new-borns, but turns black with age - the dark face is an important difference form other subspecies (but it should not be confounded with Bonobo, Pan paniscus, who also sports black face but belong to a different species altogether - as a reminder, my first PNOAH spotting here


The West African chimpanzee range is confined to West Africa, and its natural habitat are, unlike other subspecies, combination of forest-savanna mosaics, open grasslands mixed with dry forest. Here, these were observed in Tacugama sanctuary bordering the Western Area Peninsula National Park near Freetown. The hilly region is covered by above mentioned mosaic, and provides parts of equatorial humid forest combined with open grass zones.


Note 1: Critically endangered, with populations decimated or extinct in many countries of their range, main threats being the hunt (as bushmeat) and habitat loss, as well as pet trade. Note 2: Difficult to estimate the remaining population in the country, but our guides mentioned about 5000 animals with numbers slowly increasing. They also mentioned that this is not even 10% of total numbers 50-60 years ago. Note 3: West African chimp is currently the Sierra Leone national animal, one of measures to raise the awareness countrywide. Note 4: Tacugama Sanctuary - its excellent website can be visited here: Note 5: some additional portraits taken in this sanctuary can be seen here:

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Zlatan Celebic
Zlatan Celebic 2 years ago

Thanks Mark, it was really a pleasure to visit the sanctuary.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 years ago

Extraordinary spotting. So good. Thanks Zlatan.

Zlatan Celebic
Spotted by
Zlatan Celebic

Freetown, Western Area, Sierra Leone

Spotted on Oct 2, 2021
Submitted on Oct 2, 2021

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