The African rainforests are disappearing due to road construction, farming and deforestation. According to Public Broadcasting Service, about 90 per cent of the rainforests in West Africa are gone and the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Central Africa are threatened as well. This also threatens the survival of many of the animals that live in the rainforests. Gorillas and chimpanzees also fall victim to poachers who sell them to the bush meat trade.
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The mountain gorilla is found in the African rainforests from Cameroon to Rwanda and Congo. They are an endangered animal, with an estimated 700 remaining as of 2010, according to the African Wildlife Federation. The greatest threat to these gorillas is the degradation of their forests. Mountain gorillas have thick black hair, an immense chest, long, well-developed arms and broad hands and feet. Males can grow up to six feet tall and weigh up to 143 Kilogram. Mountain gorillas live in groups, averaging about eleven members. The silverback male is the leader and he will protect his group against predators. A slow reproduction rate contributes to the threat of their species. A female gorilla will have between two and six offspring in her lifetime of 40 to 50 years. Mountain gorillas are mainly herbivores, eating leaves, shoots and stalks of plants.
Black Colobus Monkey
The black colobus monkey lives in rainforest from southwest Cameroon to the Congo River. According to the African Wildlife Federation, its name in Greek means "mutilated" because it does not have thumbs like other monkeys. They have black fur with white whiskers, white bushy tails, long mantle and beard that surrounds its black face. The colobus was hunted for its fur at one time, resulting in extinction in some locations. It continues to be threatened by the clearing of forests. They use branches to bounce and then leap as far as 50 feet at a time. Their troops include one dominant male, several females and their young. Newborns have all white fur until about one month when its colour begins to change to the black and white combination. The colobus monkey eats strictly leaves and stays primarily in the trees.
Chimpanzees are found in the rainforests of Tanzania and Uganda. They are intelligent, social, curious and noisy. The chimpanzee's thick body, long arms and short legs are covered with black hair. There is no hair on the face, fingers, toes and ears. They have the ability to grip objects with their hands and use "tools" such as sticks to collect termites or ants and rocks to open nuts. They stay mostly in trees to eat and sleep, but also spend time on the ground. Chimpanzee communities can include as few as ten and as many as 100. Females have just one baby which stays with her until it is around four years old. Chimps are very vocal, hold hands, kiss and groom each other. Their diet is primarily fruit, but they also eat leaves, blossoms and buds. Their survival is threatened because of the decrease of forests and their use in medical research.
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