A renowned American wildlife conservationist has been quoted in the Guardian as expressing fears that the rare chimpanzee species found in western Tanzania could become extinct as a result of a mysterious disease that may have killed up to 12 of them in a short space of time. Dr Magdalena Lukasik-Braum, known for her research on wildlife in the country, said, the rare species at Mahale Mountain National Park in Kigoma Region would become extinct if the disease was not checked. She said: “The situation is critical” she said.She said the chimpanzees are genetically so close to people that they are susceptible to almost all germs which affect humans. “Respiratory outbreaks occur with alarming regularity nearly every year, usually in June/July, when large numbers of staff and visitors enter the forest after the rainy season,” she added.

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