Renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall says much more needs to be done to save the animals from disaster.
Dr Goodall is visiting New Zealand and Australia for a series of public lectures teaching business leaders about social behaviour and promoting the work of her conservation institute.
Her research among chimpanzees in the Tanzanian forest is widely credited with profound advances in the understanding of primate behaviour.
The primatologist was in Wellington as part of her tour and visited the capital's zoo on Friday.
Dr Goodall said when she began, there were up to 2 million chimpanzees across Africa, but today the number is no more than 300,000.
"Many of them are in small, isolated patches of forest, with little hope of long-term survival unless we can link forest patches with corridors, which is something people are trying to do all over the world to protect wildlife."
She says chimpanzees are certainly not destroying their own habitat, and in many ways are better environmentalists than humans.
Dr Goodall talked with Kim Hill on the Saturday Morning programme.