Chimpanzees live in a fission-fusion society whereby members of a community can freely join or leave a group at any time. Food normally dictates whether individuals join or avoid a group. When availability of food is low, chimpanzees, especially females with their dependents, tend to avoid groups.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, JGI’s Deus Mjungu reports on the Gombe chimpanzees’ latest romantic escapades.
It is the beginning of the termite fishing season at Gombe National Park. During this season, chimpanzees spend a considerable amount of time searching and extracting termites from mounds. Termites are small, nutritious insects. However, due to the insect’s small size, termite fishing requires patience and hard work.
Latin Name: Vitex fischeri
Local Name: Mpapa
Mpapa trees grow in the valleys and lower slopes of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. The trees are tall, up to 70 feet high, and typically possess one straight trunk. The fruiting season usually takes place between late March and the end of April. During a good year, mpapa is one of the most important chimpanzee foods.
An example of tool use, chimpanzees use rocks and sticks as weapons to intimidate and fend off others.
Because chimpanzees are so biologically and socially similar to humans, they offer us a great deal of insights into our evolutionary past, as well as into our future. As we observe and document the world of chimpanzees, we learn more about our own behaviors and social patterns, our impact on the ecosystem, and even our ability to spread disease.