Chimpanzee tracking

I have long had a fondness for chimpanzees, possibly since hearing about my great grandfather having one as a pet!  He had been working for a few years in Africa and brought one back to England with him.  Although it would (quite rightly!) not be possible for me to do the same, whilst in Uganda I could at least see them in a much more natural habitat than early twentieth century Lancashire!

Kyambura (or Chambura) Gorge, part of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, is one of the best places in the world to observe chimpanzees in the wild.  So, as with gorilla tracking, this was an opportunity I could not miss.

One difference with the gorilla experience was that we didn’t have to go on a long hike through extremely thick vegetation to find them!  We only needed to scramble down a short but steep slope not far from the dirt track down which we had been driving.  Luckily enough for us, the chimps had given themselves away by ‘shouting’ to each other!

Chimps are more active than gorillas, so although it was not possible to get as close, we were still only a short distance away.  We could see first-hand how human-like they are – indeed they are our closest living relative, with some scientists believing they share approximately 99% of our DNA.  And apparently they even make and use tools!  This used to be thought of as the differentiating factor between humans and animals…

We spent quite a while watching one particular chimp happily digging into a hole in the branch of a tree and munching on the termites or whatever they were that were inside.  We then left them and trekked for a while along base of the gorge.  It was stunning – a tropical rainforest below savannah on either side and a great way to end an amazing experience.

Yet another highlight of the trip!

Posted on June 10, 2012, in 4. Chimpanzee tracking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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