Some sombering news of a mysterious epidemic that has decimated a population of chimpanzees in one of Africa’s most important research sites for the primates has come out yesterday.

The research site, Bossou Environmental Research Institute (IREB), is in southeast Guinea. The Bossou chimps are one of the oldest permanent colonies identified by researchers in the wild… these are the chimps are known for using stone hammers to crack open palm oil nuts. Here’s what the head of the chimpanzee investigation, Pepe Soropogui has to say about this epidemic,

“no more than 12 West African chimpanzees remain from a population of around 30 in 2002.”

Marie Claude Gauthier of the Jane Goodall Institute for wildlife research and conservation added,

“There are theories that some chimpanzees have contracted a sort of bronchitis or pneumonia probably transmitted by man, but we are not sure because chimpanzees have funeral rites and take away the bodies after death.”

Read more about it here, “Mysterious epidemic may be killing Guinean chimps.”

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