Uganda Chimpanzee Trekking Guide
Quick Facts about Chimps
Chimpanzees are found in 21 countries in Africa. They used to be found in 25 countries and it is estimated that within 20 years, 10 countries will have lost all their chimpanzees.
Like the mountain gorillas, Uganda probably has lost 90% of its chimpanzees and most of the great apes in the last 500 years while the human population has increased by 800% in the last 100 years alone.
There are only 4,950 chimpanzees left in the Uganda and conserved in the zoos, sanctuaries and a few remaining rain forests. 98.4% of sub-counties in Uganda have more people than all the Chimpanzees in Uganda.
Chimpanzees and other primates such as monkeys can be seen in while on your safari travel to Uganda more easily than anywhere else in the world. They already attract tourists.
As seen in most pictures, Chimps have large bodies with four limbs and share 98% of the human genes, making them our closest living relative on earth.
Chimpanzees give birth every 4-5 years and look after their infants for 10-12 years before they are old enough to survive on their own.
These species live in communities that split up and join again later unlike gorillas who stay together .Chimpanzees have cultural differences- communities have different life styles.
Chimpanzees can use tools. They use rocks to crack nuts, sticks to fish for termites and make sponges from leaves to soak up water for drinking from hole in trees.
Chimpanzees periodically organize hunts to catch monkeys or small antelopes.
It is illegal to kill, capture or keep a Chimpanzee in Uganda. The Uganda Wildlife Authority can assist in the rescue of illegally held animals. Call UWA for help 041 346287
Threats to Chimpanzees in Uganda
Chimpanzees are an endangered species because they are rare and declining rapidly across Africa. International law protects chimpanzees because they are threatened by extinction. The main cause of decline is due to activity of people which include:
-Chimpanzees are losing their home in Uganda. In the past 15 years, over 800 sq kms of forest has been cut down where chimpanzees live mostly
-Chimpanzees are hunted for meat in some parts of Uganda. Most chimpanzees get killed each year for meat in Africa than all the Chimpanzees in Uganda.
-Chimpanzees are also hunted for petty trade. For every baby Chimpanzee caught in the wild, approximately 10 chimpanzees die in the process
-The endangered species in also killed or maimed by wire traps set for antelopes in the forests. 25% of Chimpanzees studies in Uganda have injuries from traps.
The Uganda government has set a side land to save the remaining Apes mainly the chimpanzees in the safari parks, zoo and Ngamba Island sanctuary. It has also set up rules to govern the chimpanzee trekking activity so that their ecosystem is conserved.
These conservation areas have become famous safari destinations n Uganda, since many people come from all parts of the world to see these great apes and more to that, our relatives.
Number of Chimpanzees in Uganda
National Parks / Wildlife Reserves
Murchison Falls National Park 20
Semuliki National Park 50
Semuliki WR 60
Ruwenzori Mountains National Park 500
Kibale Forest National Park 1,420
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park 210
Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Outside Protected areas
Total = 4950.
Organizations that conserve and study Chimpanzees in Uganda include.
-Budongo Forest Project.
-Bwindi Ape Project.
-Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation.
-Jane Goodall Institute
-Kibale Chimpanzee Project.
-Kalinzu Chimpanzee Project.
-Makerere University Biological Field Station.
-Semuliki chimpanzee project.
-Wildlife Conservation Society.
Tracking down the habituated groups of chimpanzees is a very unforgettable experience. Since the chimpanzees have a very close relation to humans among the existing creatures, they are fun to watch as they play, feed and rest in their natural habitat. Unlike monkeys, chimps live in extended families/groups of up to 100 individuals and move in small sub groups around the forest revolving with close relations of brothers, sisters and mothers. The male chimps normally spend their lives within the group they were born whereas the female may move to the adjacent community on reaching adolescence.
Visitors are allowed to spend time with the habituated chimps, allowing them to observe the behavior of the apes especially as they feed. This is quite an intriguing activity that you should never miss out. There are more than 5,000 primates in Uganda and these can be tracked in Kibales Forest Park which has over 1,400chimps which is the largest population of these apes living together in Uganda, in Murchison Falls National Park at the Kaniyo Pabidi, Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kyambura gorge and many other place. On Ngamba Island found 23 km south of Entebbe town within Uganda and on Lake Victoria are more than 40 orphaned chimpanzees. The island has close to 100acres, of which 98 acres are forested and demarcated from visitors by an electric fence. This island was opened to public touring in October 1999.
In Rwanda is Nyungwe Forest National Park which is a sanctuary for chimpanzees of close to 500 individuals, with a smaller group in the Cyamudongo Forest. The park offer chimp tracking opportunities.