Closely linked to humans by DNA, chimpanzees are one of the four species of great apes. Chimpanzees also known also chimps are members of the family Hominidae along with humans, orangutans and gorillas. Great apes are different from monkeys for a variety of reasons: they are larger, walk upright for a longer period of time, don’t have tails and have much larger, more developed brains. Uganda is one of the favourite destinations to see wild chimpanzees in Africa. Here are some of the facts that you should know about chimpanzees;
- Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of man and according to research the chimps have 94% of human DNA.
- Male chimpanzees stand up to 5.6feet high and weights about 70kg. The small chimps are quiet smaller. Most chimps have long arms which are longer than their legs. Chimps can walk upright when they have objects in their hand. They also hang on branches of trees. Chimps live up to 35 to 37 years in the wild.
- Chimpanzees have omnivorous diet and they have troop hunting culture headed by an alpha male. An alpha male is not the one that is very strong or the largest in the group but the one that is most cunning and political to influence the activities within the group. They have highly complex social relationships.Chimpanzees live in a large multi-male and female social group called communities and thus reflecting the human ways of living
- Just like human beings, chimpanzees make tools and use them to get foods and for social display. Their hunting strategies require cooperation, influence and rank and thus reflecting the hunting culture of man (African natives). They also communicate in a manner similar to human nonverbal communication that is to say; they use gestures, vocalizations and facial expressions.
- Uganda’s Chimps live in communities. These communities are composed of family groups of three to six individuals. Within the communities, there are hierarchies formed by the adult males of the community, which is led by one alpha (the highest) male. Adolescent females may move freely between communities, although territory is strictly patrolled and conflicts can occur between neighbors.
- While walking on the ground, chimpanzees usually walk on all fours using their knuckles for support with their hands clenched, a form of locomotion called knuckle-walking.
In Uganda chimpanzees are found in various protected areas; Kibale Forest national park, Budongo forest reserve and Kaniyo Pabidi Forests in the Murchison falls conservation area, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest and other sites. There is also the Ngamba Island, a chimpanzee Sanctuary established by the Jane Goodall Institute to protect the orphaned chimpanzees! Chimpanzee tracking is one of the adventure activities that tourists engage in to enrich their experience with these cousins of ours! You can take a Uganda safari and enjoy the chance to encounter with man closest relative. Tracking chimps also gives you a chance to sight other primates like silver monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, colobus monkeys among others and also the opportunity to spot different bird species and other animals like the forest buffaloes.