Chimpanzees are among the great apes that live in the tropical rain forests of Africa. These great apes survive in only 21 countries in Africa including Uganda, DRC Sudan, Tanzania Senegal and Angola in the West. It should be noted that Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has the largest population, although chimpanzees have become extinct in some areas due to political instabilities, poaching, and diseases among others.
QUICK FACTS you should know about Chimpanzees
African chimpanzees grow to reach heights of 3 to 5 feet, and weigh up to 120 to 200 pounds. They are predominantly black, sometimes with gray color on their back after 20 years of age.
Chimpanzees are the most social of all the apes and live in communities or troops of between 15 and 120 individuals. Like fathers in homes, Chimpanzee troops are also headed by male chimps and elder chimps.
Their communities are often split into a number of subgroups with a male as the leader of the group.
Male chimps leave the community where they were born – they can form their own groups or join new troops.
Female chimps often migrate to a new community during an adolescent estrus period. In the process, they try to look for male chimps for mating and finally bare offspring.
Chimpanzees move mostly on the ground by knuckle walking.
Chimpanzees groom each other daily, and this activity has an important social function of calming and comforting individuals and solidifying their bonds with each other.
Mothers often move alone with their offspring.
Chimpanzees construct nests at night in which to sleep.
Chimpanzee males in the wild cooperatively hunt for meat.
Their diet is mainly fruits with regular amounts of insects, as well as birds and small mammals.
Chimpanzees are capable of using tools to gain access to food, such as fishing for termites with sticks fashioned for the job and cracking open nuts with anvil-like rocks. They use tools like sticks, stones and so on.
Females in estrus have a prominent swelling of the pink perineal skin that lastis two to three weeks and occurs every four to six weeks.
Females give birth every four to five years and their gestation period is eight to nine months.
Chimpanzees have a long mother-infant dependency period. Infants will nurse on their mothers for five years and stay with their mothers several more years learning to care for younger siblings.
The life span for chimpanzees is 40 to 50 years in the wild and over 50 to 60 years in captivity.
Where to See Chimpanzees in Uganda
Are you looking for a safari to see chimpanzees in Uganda? There are several national parks and forest reserves where you can enjoy chimpanzee tracking. There are also several Uganda safaris that focus on chimpanzee tracking within different places in Uganda. Here are the best places to see these great apes;
- Kibale Forest National Park
- Budongo Forest and Kaniyo Pabidi Forest in Murchison Falls Conservation Area
- Ngamba Island Sanctuary in the Lake Victoria
- Kyambura Game Reserve and Kalinzu Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park.