Chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park
Chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park: Chimpanzees are a species of primates living in the tropical forests and savannah areas of central and west Africa. In Uganda, the chimpanzees are found in several places and these are Kibale forest national park, Ngamba island sanctuary, Kalinzu forest, Maramagambo forest, Budongo forest, and Kyambura gorge.
Over 5000 chimpanzees are found in Uganda but the highest number is found in Kibale forest national park. Over 1500 chimpanzees of Kibale forest national park have found food and comfortable homes in the tropical rainforests. Kibale forest national park has gotten normal chimpanzees that are covered by hair with bare faces.
Chimpanzees are more closely related to human beings together with the mountain gorillas. These primates are believed to be sharing 98% of DNA with human beings. Just like human beings, chimpanzees can walk upright but they love walking on all four arms. The chimpanzees of Kibale forest national park have gotten long hands, arms, and fingers which they use to climb trees and swing from one tree branch to another.
Chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park
Characteristics of chimpanzees
Adult chimpanzees have an average standing weight of 150cm. The mature adults weigh between 40-70kg while the females tend to be small and weigh 27 to 50kg. Chimpanzee arms are usually longer than the legs and they can even reach below the knees.
The bodies of chimpanzees are covered with black hair up part from the face, toes, fingers, and palm of the hands. The black hair on chimpanzees tends to have to brown or ginger as they grow older. Very old chimpanzees have grey or white patches on the chin and lower regions.
Social structure of chimp in Kibale forest national park
Chimpanzees in Kibale live in large groups which comprise males and females. The chimpanzees live in groups/communities often called troops and these are led and controlled by a dominant male called the alpha. The alpha male protects the family members and maintains order when there are fights. It’s not a must for the alpha male to be the oldest as long as he has the political power to influence the activities within the group.
In Kibale forest national park, there are 13 chimpanzee families of which 6 are wild, 5 are open for research and the remaining 2 are for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest and chimpanzee habituation in Kibale forest. Two of the chimpanzee families are used to human presence around them because one is fully habituated and the other is going through habituation.
The gestation period of Kibale chimpanzees
Adult female chimpanzees normally become sexually active between 8-10 years and give birth to a single chimpanzee with cases of twins being very rare. Chimpanzees give birth every after five to six years and the new babies stay with the mothers for 4 years. When the babies are still young, they cling tightly to the fur on their mother’s belly and ride around on her back until they are 2 years of age.
Just like human beings, chimpanzees breastfeed for 2-3 years and thereafter start to learn how to look for food with a help of their mothers. The mothers give protection to their infants until they are mature enough to protect themselves. Young chimpanzees stay in the nests made by their mothers until they grow up 3 years and learn to make their own.
What do chimps in Kibale forest national park eat?
Like human beings, chimpanzees are omnivores animals which means that they eat both plants and animals. When it comes to animals, chimpanzees are not good at hunting so they eat monkeys, small mammals, insects, and termites which they get by using sticks to extract them from their holes.
When it comes to plants, chimpanzees do feed mainly on figs, fruits, seeds, nuts, flowers, berries, and leaves. Some of the plants that chimpanzees feed on are a source of medicine to them. The chimpanzees spend most of their time in the day looking for food from different areas of the forest.
Best time to see the chimpanzees
There’s no specific period or Best time to see the chimpanzees as tourists that are interested in chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park can visit the area at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest. The dry months which occur from June to September and December to February are the best time to see chimpanzees of Kibale forest national park and this is because the park is receiving little or no rainfall, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the chimpanzees while the roads leading to Kibale forest national park are in good condition.
Tourists can still visit Kibale forest national park for chimpanzee trekking during the rainy season from March to May and October to November but this favors budget travelers because lodges are discounted. The rainy season doesn’t give the best of the chimpanzee activities because it has a lot of rainfall, the trekking trails are slippery, vegetation is tall with unclear views of wildlife and the roads leading to the park are in poor conditions.
Where to stay on your visit to Kibale forest national park
Tourists who visit Kibale forest national park and would want to spend a night or more there have a lot of accommodation facilities to use. The accommodation facilities are of budget, mid-range, and luxury options with where to stay depending on someone’s income. The lodges include Primate Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Kyaninga Crater Lodge, Rwetera Safari Park, Turaco Treetops, Kibale Forest Camp, Kibale Forest Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, and Ndali Lodge among others.