Pan troglodytes ssp. verus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Hominidae

Scientific Name: Pan troglodytes ssp. verus
Species Authority: Schwarz, 1934
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English West African Chimpanzee
Taxonomic Notes: Chimpanzee taxonomy remains an active area of research. Four subspecies are commonly recognized: the West African Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes verus; the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee P. t. ellioti; the Central Chimpanzee P. t. troglodytes; and the Eastern Chimpanzee P. t. schweinfurthii. Recent mitochondrial DNA work (Gonder et al. 2006) shows that schweinfurthii is embedded in troglodytes, and suggests that there are only two major clades of chimpanzees: Pan troglodytes ellioti in West Africa and P. t. troglodytes in Central and East Africa. Based on recent nuclear DNA work, as well as considerations of the overall similarity in behaviour and morphology of the proposed subspecies, Fischer et al. (2006) argue that differences between chimpanzee populations are too small to warrant subspecific designations. While the appropriate taxonomic labelling for different chimpanzee populations remains unresolved, the relative importance of different threats faced by chimpanzees varies across Africa, making a regional approach valuable for conservation purposes. We, therefore, use a four-subspecies classification system here, recognizing that future work may lead to a consensus recognizing more or fewer subspecies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Humle, T., Boesch, C., Duvall, C., Ellis, C.M., Farmer, K.H., Herbinger, I., Blom, A. & Oates, J.F.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Butynski, T.M. & Williamson, E.A. (Primate Red List Authority)
Due to high levels of exploitation, loss of habitat and habitat quality as a result of human activities, this subspecies is estimated to have experienced a significant population reduction in the past 20 to 30 years (one generation is estimated to be 20 years: Boesch and Boesch-Achermann 2000) and it is suspected that this reduction will continue for the next 20 to 30 years. The maximum population reduction over a three-generation (i.e., 60 year) period from the 1970s to 2030 is suspected to exceed 50%, hence qualifying this taxon for Endangered under criterion A4. The causes of the reduction, although largely understood, have certainly not ceased and are not easily reversible. P. t. verus still occurs in nine African countries. Nevertheless, it is very rare or close to extinction in four, including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal (Kormos et al. 2003). It has already disappeared in the wild from Togo (Campbell and Radley 2006) and the Gambia. The subspecies is also possibly now extinct in Benin (Nobime, in prep.). P. t. verus, therefore, survives mainly in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali. Unfortunately, no recent data are available to allow for an estimation of rates of decline. However, it is unlikely that P. t. verus meets the threshold of an 80% population reduction over three generations to qualify as Critically Endangered. The suspected future continuation of population reduction is, therefore, a precautionary approach based on the rapidly increasing human population density, human activities across many protected and non protected areas, and the high degree of political instability in some range states. P. t. verus, together with P. t. ellioti, still remains one of the most threatened subspecies.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2007 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (E)
1990 Endangered (E)
1988 Endangered (E)
1988 Endangered (E)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: P. t. verus (Schwarz, 1934) is found in West Africa from Senegal to Ghana.
Countries occurrence:
Côte d'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Senegal; Sierra Leone
Possibly extinct:
Benin; Burkina Faso; Togo
Regionally extinct:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: P. t. verus is patchily distributed and number between 21,300 and 55,600 with the greatest number estimated to be found in Guinea (Kormos et al. 2003).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Chimpanzees are found predominantly in moist and dry forests, and forest galleries extending into savanna woodlands. They are omnivorous, and their diet is highly variable according to individual populations and seasons. Fruit comprises about half the diet, but leaves, bark, and stems are also important. Mammals comprise a small but significant component of the diet of many populations. Chimpanzees form social communities of 5 to 150 animals. Home ranges are larger in woodland forest mosaics than in mixed forest, and average 12.5 km² (range 5 to 400 km²).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): See species-level assessment (Pan troglodytes).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: See species-level assessment (Pan troglodytes).

Citation: Humle, T., Boesch, C., Duvall, C., Ellis, C.M., Farmer, K.H., Herbinger, I., Blom, A. & Oates, J.F. 2008. Pan troglodytes ssp. verus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T15935A5323101. . Downloaded on 30 May 2016.
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