Science & Nature

Planet Earth is losing its chimpanzees; Chemicals to blame

Wild chimpanzees die early after being exposed to harmful pesticides, flame retardants and other chemicals.

The world is losing its wild chimpanzees at a faster rate than one could imagine. And if one goes looking for the reason, the findings come about as shocking. The wild chimpanzees that are fast disappearing from the face of the earth has human interventions in their habitat as the cause.

In fact, the harmful chemicals that these wild animals are exposed to are bringing about their end. Studies have proved that the animals are being exposed to harmful pesticides, flame retardants and other chemicals that man brings to the wild habitats for their own benefits.

Research has found traces of these pollutants in their feces. This has brought up the issue of how harmful pesticides, flame retardants and other polluting chemicals are killing the wild chimps. These pollutants are affecting the animals’ health and development in a major way that their end comes sooner.

Primates including chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys at risk

A report quoting a paper published in Biology Letters pointed out that pesticides and flame retardants have been found in the feces of at least four primate species in Uganda’s Kibale National Park. These species include chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys, it said. The study has further pointed out that female species and the young ones are the most affected.

Scientists have pointed at the possibility of these pollutants pushing up stress and reproductive hormones in these animals. It needs to be inferred that these chemicals are playing with the animals’ body systems and killing most functionalities.

Humans to blame

It has been pointed out that chemicals have a serious impact during the growth phase of the young chimpanzees. It has also been forewarned that the chemicals that have been found in feces could be just a few, and that it could be possible that more polluting and toxic chemicals are affecting them.

What needs to be done is simple. Human interventions in chimpanzee habitats are to be curtailed. It has been proved that human activity around the park in the name of tourism could be a reason for harmful chemicals being pumped in.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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