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Uganda Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park/Chimps of Bwindi Forest

Uganda Chimpanzees In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Uganda Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park  simply known as  “Chimps” are the second largest species of apes in the world after Mountain Gorillas.

They are an endangered species of the great apes indigenous to the forests and savannahs of tropical Africa.

These intelligent apes are in 2 categories; the Common Chimpanzees and the Bonobos species.

These knucklewalkers are one of man’s closest relatives with about 98 to 99% of genetic similarity.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the Common Chimpanzee species (Pan Troglodyte’s schweinfurthii).

Chimpanzees in Bwindi make up over 400 individuals out of the over 5000 Chimpanzees in Uganda.

This makes Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the lone place where you can spot Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees on your African safari in Uganda.

Additionally, Chimps can also be best spotted in Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo forest, Kalinzu forest,and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

These captivating creatures in Bwindi forest are overshadowed by the giant Mountain Gorillas- the park’s biggest draw card.

On your Uganda Gorilla tours in Bwindi,seeing Chimps is not a guarantee. Uganda Chimpanzees in this park are not habituated. They are shy and take off once they notice people approaching.

However, on your lucky day, you can see them in the Buhoma area in the north. This is because it’s the lowest point of Bwindi.

Similar to Diane Fossey’s legacy with Mountain Gorillas, Jane Goodall popularized Chimpanzees all over the world.

For our lovely readers planning a Uganda Gorilla safari in Bwindi, Let’s digest these apes further below!

What Is A Chimpanzee?- Chimp Meaning

Are you wondering whether Chimpanzees  are apes ?  Yes! Chimpanzees are great apes that live across Central and West Africa.

The scientific name of Chimps in Uganda’s  is Pan Troglodyte’s schweinfurthii.

Jointly with the Bonobos, they are our closest living relatives, sharing 98.7 percent of our genetic design.

Scientists believe that humans and Chimps share a common ancestor who lived some seven to 13 million years ago.

What Does A Chimpanzee Look Like?- Chimpanzee Description

You could be wondering what a typical Chimpanzee description is like,   well,  a usual Chimpanzee has protracted arms beyond the knees, opposable thumbs, and an outstanding mouth.

The skin on the face, ears, palms, and soles of the feet are exposed.

Brown to coarse black hair blankets the rest of the Chimpanzee’s body.

Chimpanzee hands and fingers are long, with short thumbs. This hand morphology enables them to use their hands as “hooks” while climbing, without intrusion from the thumb. These apes have prominent ears and a prominent superorbital crest. This makes the brows appear somewhat rigid and bony.

An uncommon sagittal crest may be present in very large individuals.

Chimps lack a nuchal crest. The cranial capacity of these animals spans from 320 to 480 cc.

The face of a Chimpanzee is slightly prognathic.

Chimp lips protrude and are very flexible. They enable an individual to accomplish many tasks through labial manipulation.

Chimpanzee teeth are typical of primates. Its dental arch is square, and there is a prominent diastema.

Canines are as huge as molars.  Molars recede toward the back of the mouth and lack the enamel wrinkling seen in orangutans.

Individuals of both sexes are susceptible to losing the hair on the head as they age, producing a bald patch behind the brow ridge.

As they age, Chimpanzee hairs in the lumbar region and on the back tend to turn gray.

Please note that Chimps don’t have tails!

Chimpanzee Size, Weight And Height

Chimpanzee Size; Adult Chimps have a head and body length ranging between 635 and 925 mm.

The Chimpanzee is larger and more robust than the bonobo.

You could be wondering how much do Chimpanzees weigh ? Male Chimps weigh 40–70 kg (88–154 lb.).

 Females are slightly smaller weighing 27–50 kg (60–110 lb.) for females and standing 120 to 150 cm (3 ft. 11 in to 4 ft. 11 in).

In captivity, Chimps typically attain greater weights, with the top weight reaching 80 kg for males and 68 kg for females.

Chimpanzee Feet: The foot of  Chimpanzees has an opposable hallux that faces the other four digits to allow the grasping of objects.

In comparison, the hallux of the human foot is aligned in parallel with the other four digits; as such, the prehensile function is not afforded.

Chimpanzee strength.  Chimpanzees are generally stronger than humans.

Scientists say that they are 3 nearly 5 times stronger than humans.

Interesting Fun Facts About Uganda Chimpanzees In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  1. Chimpanzees are part of the “great apes.” Bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and humans are the other great apes.
  2. Chimps have the highest genetic similarity to humans with about 7% of their DNA.  Chimpanzees have closer ties to humans than Gorillas!
  3. Chimps in the wild live only in the forests and savannahs of equatorial Africa. Their current range spreads across 21 countries.
  4. Chimpanzees are endangered primarily due to habitat loss and hunting.

Scientists approximate there are between 170,000 and 300,000 Chimpanzees currently living in the wild.

  1. Chimps can live up to 45 years in the wild. They up to 60 years in captivity.
  2. You can identify baby Chimps by their small size and a tuft of white hair on their backside. This clump fades when they reach adolescence.
  3. Chimps are frugivores.
  • Their major food staple is fruit
  • They supplement with leaves, nuts, seeds, birds’ eggs, and insects.
  • Some Chimp communities hunt and eat colobus monkeys and other small mammals.
  1. Dr. Jane Goodall invented tool use by wild chimpanzees in 1960.
  • She noticed a Chimpanzee using blades of grass to extract termites from a termite mound.
  • Chimpanzees can also use stones to crack open nuts and using sticks to extract honey from bee hives.
  1. Chimpanzees build sleeping nests in trees at night. They use carefully-selected branches and leaves.
  2. These great apes live in fissionfusion societies.
  • They live in large communities of up to a few hundred chimpanzees.
  • Smaller subgroups tend to break off from the community temporarily.
  1. Communication among Chimps is through gestures, facial expressions, and vocalizations.
  • Displays of affection for one another include embracing, touching hands, and even kissing.
  • Chimps laugh when they play.

Chimpanzees Location- Where Do Chimpanzees Live ?

Many people wonder, where does a Chimpanzee live?  Well, Many Chimp populations live in tropical rainforests.

However, they are also found in woodlands and grasslands

You could be also wondering where are Chimpanzees native?  Chimpanzees are native to  Africa.

Chimps have the widest range of any great ape.

These great apes usually sleep in trees.

They prefer the sturdy Ugandan ironwood tree, which offers the firmest and most stable place to sleep. Chimps build themselves nests of leaves.

Location Of Uganda Chimpanzees In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

During your Gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi, you can only spot Uganda Chimpanzees in Buhoma sector.

Please note that, these Uganda Chimps in Bwindi impenetrable forest are not habituated.

Therefore, you will need some luck to spot them.  They tend to run away on hearing humans approaching them.

Chimpanzee Population- How Many Chimpanzees Are Left In The World?

Are you wondering how many Chimpanzees are left in the world?  The current Chimpanzee population in the wild ranges between 170,000 and 300,000 Chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees in Uganda number up to over 5000.

Their current range spreads across 21 African countries. This number could be higher but there is a lack of survey data in many regions.

Unfortunately, Chimpanzees are endangered due to habitat loss and hunting.

In Bwindi, there are estimates of about 400 individuals.

Chimpanzee Diet In The Wild

Many people are intrigued by what do Chimpanzees eat.  Chimps are omnivores.  They eat both plants and animals.

Chimpanzee natural diet in the wild primarily comprises fruits, leaves, and other plant parts.  

Honey, insects (especially termites), and occasionally eggs and meat supplements Chimpanzee natural diet.

The Chimpanzee food is generally diverse.

These interesting apes kill and eat monkeys, small antelope, and even tortoises.        They slam the tortoise against trees to break open their shells.

Uganda Chimps diet is eaten with their hands.  They use these very hands to throw objects at enemies and to create tools.

Impressively, they shove a stick into a termite mound to feed on the insects and crack nuts open.

Are you wondering how often does a Chimpanzee eat?

These animals forage during the day for between 6-8 hours.  The peaks of activity are in the early morning and late afternoon.

This routine may shift seasonally depending on the fruiting times of the plants they feed on.

Chimpanzees may hunt cooperatively.

Do chimpanzees eat humans? YES! Chimps can eat humans. They usually target children.

Chimpanzee Reproduction- How Often Does A Chimpanzee Reproduce?

You may be wondering how often do Chimpanzees reproduce? Female Chimpanzees can breed at any time of year.

They give birth typically to a single infant that clings to its mother’s fur.  It later rides on her back until the time of weaning between ages 3 and 5.

Baby chimps begin walking at about 6 months and weigh 9kg at a year old.

Twins are very rare among Chimpanzees.

First time Chimpanzee mothers are clueless about how to care for the baby.  They learn from experienced mothers and also instinct.

Females reach reproductive age at 13.  However, males are not considered adults until they are 15.

Similar to humans, female chimpanzees have menstrual cycles. They come into oestrus every 36 days unless they are pregnant.

Chimpanzees give birth about every 3-4 years. And the Chimpanzee gestation period is 8 months.

 All males in a troop may mate with one female, regardless of their social standing.  They show no sign of competition between themselves.

Uganda Chimpanzees are therefore polygynandrous.

Chimpanzee Locomotion In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park- Chimpanzee Walking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

A lot of people want to know, how does a chimpanzee move?  Well, Chimpanzees can walk upright on their legs for more than a kilometer.

However, they routinely move about on all fours, leaning forward on the knuckles of their hands (knuckle-walking).    

The long hands of Chimps help in their quadrupedal locomotion.

Youthful chimpanzees sometimes swing from branch to branch.

Uganda Chimps typically bend their fingertips upward into the palm during locomotion.  And, during Chimpanzee walking, the weight is supported along the backs of the fingers.

Much of the length of the hand thus contributes to the length of the forelimbs while walking.

In combination with the short legs, this gives the back a downward slope from neck to rump and orients the head into a forward-facing position.

Chimpanzee Community | Social Structure Of Uganda Chimpanzees In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Chimpanzees thrive in fusion-fission societies.

Their communities comprise loose and flexible groups called parties of males and females within a fixed home range, led by a dominant male.

This lucky guy can monopolize ovulating females through possessive behavior.

The dominance hierarchy among male Chimps is very fluid.

There is free entry and exit of Members from these communities freely.   This depends on their reproductive status and the availability of resources.

There are also groups of individuals with some level of authority outside of the dominant.

Forest-dwelling communities have home ranges as small as a few square kilometers. However, the home ranges of savanna communities cover hundreds of square kilometres.

Communities range from around 20100 individuals in the woodland and savanna habitat.  But, the average size range is around 1580.

Parties can consist of solitary individuals or diverse groups of both sexes and all ages.

These gatherings are temporary and constantly vary in composition, regardless of gender and age.

Individuals may travel jointly sometimes, and at other times travel separately.

All members of a community of chimpanzees are rarely if ever found in the same place at the same time.

Chimps in Uganda also have Social dominance. Adult males are dominant over adult females and adolescent males.

Yet females outnumber the male chimps by a mile.  In a community, there are twice or three times as many adult females as adult males. The number of adults is almost equal to the number of immature individuals.

Relations between different Chimp communities are hostile. Communities can attack encroachers on a group’s home range.  Adult males take part in boundary patrol.

Rarely, a group may invade a neighboring territory that is much smaller in size resulting in fatalities among the smaller group.

There is also Infanticide and cannibalism by adult males, and to a lesser extent by adult females.

Inter and intra-group competition among individuals of the same sex is the likely cause of such violence.

Occasionally, a male and female will form a consortship. They thus engage in exclusive mating relationships, leaving other members of the group and staying in the periphery of the group range.

This move, however, brings an increased risk of attack by neighboring groups

Chimpanzees Behavior| Social Behavior Of Uganda Chimpanzees In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park                      

Chimps behaviour facts are interesting. And so, they display equally interesting social behavior. Let us examine them below.

  • First off, Chimps are social, diurnal animals.
  • They live in communities of several dozen animals, headed by an alpha male and his union of male allies.
  • Research shows that male and female Uganda Chimpanzees have distinctive personalities. For example, females are more trusting and timid.
  • Reciprocal grooming is a key part of their social life. It fosters bonds among chimps as they remove ticks and dirt from one another’s bodies.
  • Chimps travel from place to place mainly on the ground. They use a form of quadrupedal walking in which the weight is borne on the
  • Though Chimps travel on the ground, they spend sizeable amounts of time in the trees.
  • Chimps in Bwindi Impenetrable National park feed on fruits while sitting in trees. They select branchy sites for resting in night and day nests.
  • They construct nightly nests from plant material in trees. They may contain branches from several small trees.
  • Chimp moms share their nests with their unweaned offspring. However, all other juveniles and adults make separate nests in which to sleep.
  • These animals are not strictly territorial. Rather, groups occupy a home range, which males and females use differently.
  • Males usually travel farther on one day than do females (males travel an average of 4.9 km/day versus 3.0 km/day for females).
  • They also range more extensively, often visiting the boundaries of the home range. Female chimps, on the other hand, have a core area within the home range in which they chill most of the time.
  • However, females in estrus may range as far as males.  They usually travel at this time in mixed-sex parties.
  • The exact distance Chimps in Uganda travel in a day, a week, or a year may vary based on food availability. It is also dependent on hostile neighboring, group proximity, and group size, among others.
  • Uganda Chimpanzee memories are long. They can discriminate easily between other individuals.
  • Chimps that have been taught sign language can remember individuals they have not seen in years.
  • They can also recall the name sign for these individuals.
  • Such long social memories play a crucial role in Chimpanzee society in natural settings.
  • Though Chimps take care of orphaned infants, they also tease handicapped individuals.
  • Chimps can hide information that would bring disadvantages to themselves.
  • They however manipulate others for their advantage by expressing deceptive postures, gestures, and facial expressions.

Chimpanzee Communication In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park- How Do Chimpanzees Communicate In Bwindi?

Chimps in the wild communicate in different forms.

Chimpanzee communication is in form facial expressions, gestures, and a large array of vocalizations.  These include screams, hoots, grunts, and roars.

Male chimps show excitement by standing erect, stamping or swaying, and letting out a chorus of screams.

Can Chimpanzees talk? YES! Chimpanzees can talk in their own unique manner.

Interestingly, these apes use louder calls and gestures for long-distance communication. For example, drumming on tree buttresses.

Alternatively, they employ quieter calls and facial expressions for short-distance communication.

You will be amazed at the striking similarities between Uganda Chimpanzees and humans!

Their laughter and smiling seen in their “play panting” and grinning is so akin to ours.

Chimpanzees Tool Use in Bwindi – What Tools Do Chimps Use in Bwindi?

Do chimpanzees use tools?  Yes. Chimpanzees in Uganda use tools in several contexts! And it is not a new phenomenon!

Primatologists have known this since the 1960s. Jane Goodall famously discovered this.

This intelligent ape is one of the few species that use tools.

Despite their terrible simplicity, these Chimp tools nonetheless show foresight, planning, and skill. 

Here’s a list of tool use in Chimpanzees.

  • Uganda Chimps often modify probes, sticks, or stems to fish for insects. This is how they commonly acquire ants and termites.
  • They use leaves as napkins, and may be crushed in the mouth and used as a sponge to dip for water.
  • Generally, Uganda Chimps use leaves hygienically in wiping their mouth or other soiled body parts
  • In addition, branches and leaves are detached and displayed during courtship
  • These interesting animals use rocks or sticks as hammers to open hard-shelled nuts.
  • Chimpanzees can use sticks and branches in threat displays and as clubs or projectiles.  However, for these uses, the raw materials need little or no modification.
  • Sticks are alternatively used to inspect dead pythons or other unfamiliar objects that might be dangerous.

Please Keep In Mind That;

  • The tools and how they are used differ in different Chimp communities. This indicates a pattern of cultural transmission of information on materials and means of production.
  • Juvenile Chimps acquire tool-using behaviours from their elders.
  • Female transfer from one community to another may enable the spread of novel innovations to naive Chimpanzee communities.
  • Uganda Chimps also use a variety of tools in succession as a “tool set.”

Chimpanzee Life Span And Lifecycle In Bwindi National Park

Chimp breeding occurs throughout the year.

After a gestation period ranging from 202 and 261 days, females give birth to a single young.    And, occasionally twins, every 5-6 years.

About 3 of these offspring will survive.

For the first 5-6 months, the mother carries the young which clings to its mother’s underbelly.  And after that, it rides on her back.

It weans at 3.5-4.5 years, while still remaining dependent on its mother for a longer period, sometimes up to 10 years.

Males reach sexual maturity at about 7 years. However, females do not produce offspring until they reach 13-14 years of age.

Are you intrigued by how long does a Chimpanzee live?

Uganda Chimpanzees may live for 40 to over 60 years.

A variety of diseases trouble Chimpanzees in natural habitats and affect survivorship and longevity.

  • Respiratory diseases, such as colds and coughs, are common during the rainy season.
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, peritonitis, and enteritis are deadly, especially in young or very old Chimps.
  • Skin ulcers and osteoarthritis can affect some
  • Abscesses of different sorts have been seen, similarly rashes, fungal diseases, and parasitic infections.
  • Human diseases can affect wild Chimpanzees.

For example, a polio epidemic in local human populations devastated the chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park in 1966. It killed some and left many chimpanzees partially paralyzed.   Also, the 2002 Ebola crisis cleared many chimp lives.

Additionally, injuries cause infections and can lead to mortality in chimpanzees.

Chimps can sustain injuries from falls. They may also stem from aggressive interactions within groups or among neighboring groups.

Other Threats To Chimpanzee Survival

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature listed the Chimp as an endangered species.

Sadly, the booming human population is primarily to blame!

As humans encroach on the Chimp’s geographic range, they clear away the ape’s forest habitat to make way for agriculture.

Habitat loss and degradation

The Degradation of forests through logging, mining, farming, and other forms of land development.

This is contributing to the decline of primate species throughout tropical Africa. Surviving habitat patches are often small and unconnected.

This leaves Chimpanzee populations isolated.

Bush meat trade                    

Bush meat hunters target Chimps because they are larger than smaller mammals.

They sometimes collect their offspring as pets for themselves or to sell into the illegal pet trade.

How To Conserve Ugandan Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Key to securing the survival of the Chimpanzees in Uganda is improving their relationship with humans!

This is because mainly human expansion into the forests jeopardizes their populations.

Many organizations work in tandem with communities to build awareness about the threats chimpanzees face.

They come up with plans to preserve their habitats.  And, help community members develop alternative livelihoods that do not jeopardize the animal’s habitat.

Bwindi protects Chimps alongside the Mountain Gorillas.

National and international laws protect Chimps.

Some of their habitats are protected as sanctuaries or reserves, too. In this case, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Several Conservation organizations are working to expand these protected areas. They are simultaneously pushing for an end to the illegal killing and taking of animals.

Chimpanzee Predators (Predators Of Chimpanzees) In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park- What Are Chimpanzee Predators in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?

Many people ask the popular question, what are Chimpanzees predators? Humans are the major predators of Chimpanzees!

 Humans hunt Uganda Chimps and Chimps else where for food in many parts of their range.

There is a lack of direct evidence of predation on chimps by other animals.

Nevertheless, some Sympatric predators are likely candidates for taking an occasional chimpanzee–especially young ones.

These suspects are Leopards (Panthera pardus) and Pythons.

Are Chimpanzees Dangerous in Bwindi national park? | Are Chimpanzees Aggressive in Bwindi?

Yes, Chimps can be very dangerous pets! 

Wild Chimps are usually fearful of humans and will keep their distance.

However, there have been incidents where Chimpanzees attacked and even kill people.

This usually happens when humans move into and destroy Chimpanzee habitats, reducing their access to food.

Chimpanzees in Uganda can steal unprotected human food, such as crops, and in the process become more confident around humans.

These naughty apes have attacked more than 20 people in the Western Region of Uganda over the past 20 years.

They have killed at least three human infants since 2014, National Geographic reported in 2019.

Chimps typically direct their aggression and sometimes predatory behavior toward defenseless children.  Simply because these animals are more fearful of larger human adults, especially men, according to National Geographic.

Chimpanzees have also grabbed and killed human babies.

Often, these are isolated and seemingly reckless attacks by individual Chimps.

However, one Chimp in the 1990s killed seven children before he was killed by humans, National Geographic reported.

Captive or pet Chimps attack people far more often than their wild kin!  They get familiar and as result, they lose their fear of people altogether.

Chimps will target a person’s face, hands, feet, and genitals during an attack.

Are Chimpanzees Dangerous Pets | Can Chimps Be Pets?

Whereas some people entertain the idea of petting Chimps, it’s important to know that it’s a hard venture!  In fact, one you are strongly advised against!

Granted! Baby Chimps are without a doubt incredibly cute. We get it!

However, you can’t truly domesticate a Chimpanzee. They outgrow their cuteness quickly.

Uganda Chimp DNA is wild. You can’t tame it even though you mean well.

Pet chimps are destructive and very dangerous to keep them as part of a family!

Keeping them stimulated and satisfied in a human environment is an impossible task.

This is according to The Jane Goodall Institute UK.

Once Chimpanzees reach 8 years, they become incredibly strong and pose a real threat to you the owner.  You could literally be petting your own “death”

Besides, meeting the needs of a pet Chimp is no joke!

  • Similar to all captive Chimps, these animals crave the companionship of other Chimps
  • Topnotch veterinary care by a qualified Chimpanzee vet
  • A wealth of enrichment to keep their minds active
  • A wideranging enclosure space that allows them to express natural behaviors.

You will quickly realize that meeting these needs is expensive and time-consuming.

And, quickly you will appreciate, like many have, that you cannot provide the quality of care needed.

Chimpanzees should therefore be left to thrive in the wild, which is their natural home.

Measures To Minimize Chimpanzee Attacks-  How To Stop a Chimp From Attacking You?

On your Chimpanzee safaris in Uganda or any other place, please remember  these Chimps are wild and can attack at any time!

And therefore, it is only right that we guide you if you encounter them alone.

  1. Keep a reasonable distance between you and the Chimpanzee

Once you encounter Chimps in the wild. Please keep a distance. That way, you won’t appear a threat in their eyes.

Remember, Chimpanzees are wild animals and they can be very unpredictable.

These apes can be 4 times stronger than an adult human!    So, obviously, you are a poor match for an aggressive Uganda Chimpanzees in Bwindi.

  1. Try to avoid making eye contact and do not smile at a Chimpanzee.

To a Chimp, showing your teeth is a sign of aggression and threat.

Similarly, don’t yell at a Chimpanzee or even tease/heckle it.  Look out for your body language and don’t make sudden movements.

  Any perception of aggression or threat will increase the chance of a chimpanzee attack.

  1. Be cautious with your outfit.

Do not wear jewelry or anything shiny.

If you have piercings, leave them behind.   Tie up Long hair and avoid wearing specs or sunglasses.

Also if you can, don’t carry bags, purses, or cameras.  These items can be irresistible to a chimp.

After all, it’s just for a limited time.

  1. Do not feed wild Chimps.

In fact, leave food behind during your encounter with Chimps.

Chimps have an incredible sense of smell.   And even if you’re carrying packaged food, they will most likely smell it.

Also, feeding a Chimp will certainly attract others into your immediate vicinity and this could spell disaster.

If you are inclined to take a photo, be smart about it and vigilant.

A Chimp won’t like seeing its reflection in a camera lens.  It feels threatened and will simply have to attack simply.

  1. Keep an eye on the Chimp.

Uganda Chimp’s body language will give you vital clues.  If the Chimpanzee is smiling, baring its teeth, blinking, or yawning, this is a good indication that it feels threatened.

What To Do If You Are Attacked By A Chimpanzee in Bwindi National park?

As you are Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda or any other place, it is important to know how to behave when attacked by a Chimp.  Here is an expert guide to follow;

  1. Avoid running away or showing fear.

This will just tell the Chimp that you are inferior and their aggression could intensify.

Simply back away slowly!

Don’t turn your back on the Chimp but do avoid making eye contact.

  1. Show the Chimp that you are not holding anything in your hands.

A Chimpanzee may attack you thinking you are withholding food.

If you don’t have it, show them your empty palms.  And if you, throw it in their direction – but not at them.

  1. Most of all, maintain your composure

Don’t panic! Stay calm and walk away, the Chimps will lose interest in you if you proceed in this manner.

Avoid screaming or trying to fight off a Chimp.

You will be fighting a lost battle. After all, you are in their backyard.

  1. If a Chimp tries to steal something from you

Let the Chimp have it. It’s most likely that once they have it, they will drop it and you will be able to recover your property.

Chimpanzees in Uganda are curious and mischievous by nature so anything loose or with straps is at risk.

Remember, bags, sunglasses, jewelry, and cameras are of particular interest.

  1. If a Chimp inflicts an injury

Urgently wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention.

Chimps can carry life-threatening illnesses such as Rabies.

Have a doctor check you out without delay.

There is no doubt that seeing a wild Uganda Chimpanzee is an amazing experience.

With a little caution and forethought, the experience will be memorable for all the right reasons.

Please Note!  There have been no recorded Uganda Chimp attacks on tourists  in Bwindi

Chimpanzees Hunting In Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

People usually wonder, do Chimpanzees hunt? Chimps.  Yes, on rare occasions do hunt for meat.

While hunting for small monkeys like the Red Colobus, Chimpanzees hunt where the forest canopy is irregular.

This allows them to corner the monkeys in the appropriate direction.

Chimpanzees employ teamwork during hunting. And sometimes they can corner their prey even in an unbroken canopy.

In the midst of an arboreal hunt, each Chimpanzee has a role.

Drivers” keep the prey running in a certain direction and follow it without attempting to make a catch.

Blockers” are stationed at the bottom of the trees and climb up to block prey that takes off in a different direction.

Chasers” move quickly and try to make a catch.

 Finally, “Ambushers” hide and rush out when a monkey nears.

Although both adults and juveniles are taken, adult male Colobus Monkeys will attack the hunting Chimps. Male Chimpanzees hunt more than females.

Chimps distribute the meal to all hunting parties and even bystanders.

Chimpanzee Intelligence

Chimpanzees are incredibly intelligent in comparison with other animals.

Chimps can  work with tools and communicate with complex vocalizations

They are good problem-solvers.

Please not that! As smart as Chimps are, their Chimpanzees brain power pales in comparison with that of humans.

Duing Uganda Chimpanzee safaris, many people have witnessed the brilliance of these apes.

You will surely recognize it too when you come.

Chimpanzees And Bonobos

Chimpanzees and Bonobos are close cousins.

They separeted from each other around 2 million years ago and differ in morphology, behavior, and perhaps even emotions and cognition in key ways

Here are a few differences between the Chimps and Bonobos

The Bonobos are female dominant.

Females form close bonds against males through same-sex socio-sexual contact that is thought to limit aggression.

In the wild, Bonobos have not been seen to cooperatively hunt, use tools, or exhibit lethal aggression.

On the other hand, Chimpanzees in Uganda are male dominant.

The fission-fussion societies are filled with intense aggression that can be lethal.

Chimps use tools, cooperatively hunt monkeys.  And they can even eat the infants of other Chimpanzee groups.

Chimpanzees And Gorillas In Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi is home to both Chimpanzees and Gorillas

Both Chimpanzees and Gorillas are primates, a biological order of species that includes humans.

However, Gorillas are larger and stronger than Chimpanzees.

Both live in forested areas.  The Chimp is more intelligent than the gentle Gorilla.They are both endemic to Africa.

Chimpanzees Vs Monkeys In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

On a Uganda tour in Bwindi, some visitors can be puzzled about differentiating Chimps from monkeys.

Well, these can look the same (to an untrained eye). However, the two have many differences, no matter how they can look the same.

If closely observed, you’ll notice that these two have many differences and these include:

  • Chimps have no tails while monkeys do.
  • In look, Chimps are generally bigger and have broader chests than Monkeys.
  • Chimps belong to the Ape family while monkeys are of the Monkey family.
  • Though Apes are frugivores, at times they can be carnivorous. Monkeys are typically omnivores.
  • Chimpanzees are more intelligent than monkeys. This is because they have have bigger.
  • Research proves that Chimps can modify and use tools while feeding e.g. Using a stick to fetch ants from their mound, Monkeys have never been recorded using any tool.
  • Research shows that these man’s close relatives have more advanced cognitive and language skills than Monkeys.

In essence, encountering Chimps, our closest cousins gives unmatched memories of the Bwindi jungle.

If you’re lucky to spot them on your  Gorilla safari in Bwindi, it is one of those things you won’t be forgetting anytime soon!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Chimpanzees

  1. How Many Species Of Chimpanzees Are There?

Chimps are classified taxonomically as a single species, Pan Troglodytes.

The so-called pygmy Chimpanzee, or Bonobo, is a unique and separate species, P. paniscus.  It split from Chimpanzees about 1.7 million years ago.

There are 4 recognized subspecies of Chimpanzees currently.  However, there is a possibility of a fifth.

Central Chimpanzee or the tschego (Pan Troglodytes troglodytes).

This species is in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

About 140,000 individuals are existing in the wild.

  1. Western Chimpanzee ( troglodytes verus).

This species lives in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Ghana

There are about 52,800 individuals still in existence.

  1. Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (P. troglodytes ellioti)

Its other name is P. t. vellerosus. This species lives within forested areas across Nigeria and Cameroon.

There are around 6000–9000 individuals still in existence.

  1. Eastern Chimpanzee (P. troglodytes schweinfurthii).

This species is in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Zambia.

It has approximately 180,000–256,000 individuals still existing in the wild.

  1. South eastern Chimpanzee, (P. troglodytes marungensis).

This species lives in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Colin Groves, the fallen Anthropologist argued that this is a subspecies of its own.

He suggested that enough variation between the northern and southern populations of P. t. schweinfurthii created it.

However, the IUCN does not recognize it.              

  1. Who Discovered Chimpanzees?

Jane Goodall an English primatologist and anthropologist discovered the chimps.

She is arguably the world’s foremost expert on Chimpanzees.

She is credited for discovering Chimp use of tools such as twigs.

Goodall is famous for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees.

She began her work in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960. Here, she witnessed human-like behaviours amongst Chimpanzees, including armed conflict.

This trailblazing woman founded the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme.

 And she has done a tremendous job on conservation and animal welfare issues.

  1. When Were Chimpanzees Discovered?

The first Chimpanzee got discovered in the 17th century, during the time of scouting missions by Europeans in Angola.

After this discovery, Chimps turned into objects of curiosity and were brought to Europe as gifts to royals and elites.

 In 1698, Edward Tyson,a famous British scientist, and physician commonly, dissected a Chimpanzee that died upon arrival from Angola.

This rose scientific and philosophical discourse on the connection between Chimpanzees and humans.

  1. Are Chimps About To Go Extinct?

Yes, wild Chimps face a high risk of extinction soon!

This is because of threats such as hunting for bush meat, disease, and habitat degradation due to industrial logging and agricultural expansion, and disease.

  1. How Much Food Do Chimps Eat? 30

Depending on their age and gender, each Chimp eats between 1-4 kilos (approx. 2-9 lbs.) of food per day.

The bigger part of a Chimpanzee’s diet comprises fruits, seeds, nuts, leaves, flowers, and insects. 

They occasionally supplement it with small mammals and even monkeys.

Chimps are creative with tool use and sourcing medicinal and recreational sources of food.

  1. Do Chimps Eat Humans?

YES!  Serious, fatal Chimp attacks on humans are on record.

Chimps tend to direct their aggression and predatory behaviour toward children.   They are wary of and will typically adult humans.

These apes target children who live in or near their forest homes.

There have been several instances of Chimps kidnapping and eating human babies. One such incident was in Gombe National Park.

However, Chimp pets or Chimps in captivity tend to be more aggressive.

  1. Why Do Chimpanzees Eat Their Own Poop?

Chimps don’t routinely eat their poop. Similar to rabbits, the most likely reason they do eat poop is to take out some of the seeds they eat that “are only partly digested.

And so Chimps eat them again to harvest those nutrients.

Remember that Chimps only eat their own feces or those of their relatives.

  1. How Often Do Chimpanzees Eat Meat?

Chimpanzees eat meat sporadically. The majority of their diet is made up of fruits and insects.

  1. Are Chimps Friendly?

Uganda Chimps are friendly to their fellow Chimps.

However, pet Chimps can be friendly to their human family members. This is temporary and at any time, chimps can get aggressive.

  1. Are Chimps Monogamous?

No. Chimps are not monogamous. Females can mate with several males. And the males are not competitive in this regard.

  1. What IQ Do Chimpanzees Have?

Chimpanzee IQ estimates are  between 20- 25. This is according to several cognitive studies made on chimps

This range is equivalent to the average of a human toddler whose brain is still developing the ability to use various cognitive capabilities.

  1. Why Do Chimpanzees Eat Monkeys?

Reasearch has it that chimps eat monkeys to get important nutrients they can’t get from plants. Some of them include Vitamin A and B12, Zinc, Copper, and Iron.

Chimps enthusiasm for meaty meals shows how vital flesh and fat are for their diet. Brains, specifically mammal brains, are particularly rich in fat.

  1. What Monkeys Do Chimpanzees Eat?

Chimps eat the Red colobus monkeys and the Colobus badius.

Meat only makes up 3% of the Chimpanzee diet.

Despite the fact Chimps depend on fruits as their diet, they have been recorded hunting some small mammals and monkeys.

  1. How Do Chimpanzees Sleep?

Chimpanzees in Uganda are such intelligent animals! They creatively know how to make beds. Every night, Chimps climb up in trees where they build up nests on tree branches by coiling leaves.

They sleep in the treetops to avoid the night-time predators like leopards.

  1. Are Chimpanzees Monkeys? | Is Chimpanzee A Monkey?

NO! Chimps are not monkeys at all! Chimpanzees belong to the Ape family a different group of primates, further classified as the Great Apes.

Chimpanzees belong to a family of mammals called Hominidae. Other hominids include Gorillas, Orangutans, Bonobos, and Humans.

Remember that Monkeys possess tails while Chimpanzees don’t.

  1. Do Chimpanzees Kill Each Other? | Why Do Chimpanzees Kill Each Other?

Yes, Chimpanzees do kill each other. The male Chimps mastermind these killings.

  • Due to the infanticide effect, a male Uganda Chimp can kill and eat the infants of another female, usually in another community to establish its offspring.
  • Also, due to territorial battles also foster these killings.

Note that, when Chimpanzees kill rivals from the other community while in a fight, they don’t eat their bodies.

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