chimp habitatChimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are found in 21 African countries -- from the west coast of the continent to as far east as western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. Chimps live in the greatest concentrations in the rain forest areas on what used to be the equatorial forest "belt." Unfortunately, the rapid deforestation in Africa has eliminated the belt, leaving only fragmented patches of forest where it once stretched. However, they are able to move out into quite arid areas, such as southwest Tanzania and Senegal.

Chimpanzees are found in secondary re-growth forests, open woodlands, bamboo forests, swamp forests, and even open savanna with bands of riverine forest and forest savanna mosaic. In these areas they seldom venture far into the savanna except to move from one forest patch to the next.

Gombe National Park, where the Jane Goodall Institute continues its 55-year study of chimpanzees, is a mixture of woodland, some open areas on ridges and peaks, and thick riverine forest in the many valleys.

Chimpanzees need a water supply and many kinds of fruits. They are omnivores, and eat not only fruits, nuts, seeds, blossoms, and leaves, but many kinds of insects and occasionally the meat of medium sized mammals. Chimpanzees, like humans, have such catholic tastes that they are able to live in a wide variety of habitats, unlike gorillas and orangutans which have more specialized diets in the wild.