Join our zoo community

Pure subspecies chimpanzees in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 19 Dec 2018.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,896
    Location:
    Everywhere at once
    This thread is about pure subspecies of common chimpanzees in zoos.

    Chimps are zoo staples and receive less interest than gorillas and orangutans. However, chimps may well become critically endangered soon. Zoos normally mixed chimps from different parts of Africa. Now there is a breeding program for Western chimpanzees verus. Chimpanzees of proven Central troglodytes and Eastern schweinfurthii forms are very rare in Europe. All seem to be non-breeders or integrated in social groups with generic chimps.

    Is there a chance for Central and Eastern chimpanzee subspecies in zoos? Are other regions more successful in breeding? Are there any purebred groups in medical instituions? Any zoo keeps the most endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee ellotti / vellerosus?
     
    Benosaurus likes this.
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    9,702
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    There are a handful of suspected individuals dotted here and there, but the collections holding the individuals in question are reluctant to test them.

    @ShonenJake13 knows more on the subject than I do.
     
  3. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Mar 2014
    Posts:
    1,778
    Location:
    London
    To my knowledge there are 4.10 confirmed schweinfurthii in European collections, however only 3.2 of these are in a pure group together and this consists of a pair and their three offspring. The others are all elderly and either alone or in same sex pairs in mixed ssp groups and therefore unable to breed.

    There are two definite ellioti at Monkey World (whether they have been officially tested or not) as both females originate from Nigeria. Two others may also be ellioti.

    There is also a (albeit much smaller scale) breeding programme for the central ssp (troglodytes) in addition to the widely successful verus programme

    So:

    Verus = EEP programme
    Troglodytes = EEP programme
    Schweinfurthii = general phase out
    Ellioti = ???
     
    Benosaurus likes this.
  4. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    3,286
    Location:
    Europe
    The latest EEP is available online, so you can check for yourself how many individuals had been found to belong to certain subspecies, though I think that in the meanwhile even more animals have been assigned to subspecies level.

    https://www.zoo.dk/files/Stambog_chimpanser_Zoo_2014.pdf
     
  5. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Mar 2014
    Posts:
    1,778
    Location:
    London
    They have indeed, previously the schweinfurthii population was only 1.6 but there has since been a discovery of 3.2 in Belgium and 0.2 in Germany...
     
  6. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,896
    Location:
    Everywhere at once
    Thanks for the studbook link! Interestingly, there is a female in Warszawa imported from Nigeria listed as pure verus. I think origin in Nigeria does not guarantee subspecies status...

    Chimpanzee EEP can relatively easily get new pure subspecies animals from zoos, labs and pets outside Europe and from rescue centres. Chimps are relatively common in human care worldwide and easily transported. They are often in need of rehoming, which nicely combines improving welfare of these particular chimps with obtaining new pure subspecies founder(s). There are also many generic / hybrid chimps which can be offered in exchange.

    However, time is running out, because wild-caught generation of chimps gets old and dies. And there will be no more, given strict laws.

    I think chimps will become high-profile animals, critically endangered in the wild, just a decade or two in future, like gorillas and others now. Environmental destruction in Africa is fast and will certainly increase, looking at the human population growth and speed of development now. EEP zoos will be congratulating (or cursing) themselves for what they did (or did not) now.