You grew up thinking that your cousins from Jersey were your closest living relatives , but actually you were wrong. For you, me, all humans in fact, chimpanzees are our closest living relatives – we share approximately 98% of our DNA with chimps making us 98% chimp and making chimps 98% human.
Which not only explains the behavior of some of your cousins from Jersey perhaps, but also is why, among many other human behaviors, chimpanzees laugh when they play and groom each other when relaxing. Grooming not only helps a chimp look better when learning sign language which they can do when in captivity, but also relax and calm down after a tense day.
What would chimps have to be tense about? Well, unfortunately like most animals in Africa, the only place in the world where chimps live, their natural habitat has been greatly reduced. Once, chimps roamed over 25 countries in Africa, more countries than 98% of people visit in their lifetimes we suppose, but now they are endangered in five of those countries, gone from five more and need our help in the remaining fifteen.
Africa is, by the way, the only place in the world you will find chimpanzees in the wild, meaning that first things first – you should visit Africa with Travel On The Good and see the chimpanzees. When you do so, not only will you experience what few people get to do, but you’ll also be supporting organizations in Africa that are working to save the chimpanzees, the lions, the elephants and every other species that needs our help.
So what if you are up for more than a visit? What if you want to settle down and really experience how your closest living relatives live? Well there’s an amazing program where you get to do that in Northern Zambia.
The Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphanage Care Project which is located on the banks of the Kafue River – yes it’s as amazing as it sounds – is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world and has over one hundred chimpanzees that you can interact with, play with and groom each other should you so choose.
In 2013, Goabroad.com named this remarkable new project a winner with its “Innovative New Project Volunteer” Award – so you know you will have an amazing experience – you can visit the project for as little as two weeks or as long as twelve weeks which just might be enough time for you to learn all there is to learn about these amazing creatures. One of your new friends might even teach you how to walk on your knuckles which, we are told, is not nearly as painful as it sounds.