Although when we cry we shed tears and when they cry it’s just sad sounds that can be heard, chimpanzees and man are closely related. Quite a number of scientific researchers have stated that the Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives (their DNA is 95% to 98% similar to that of man), with a brain more developed than any other animal but man. Sadly, in less than two (2) centuries, the chimp population has reduced from 1.2 million to roughly 300,000 chimpanzees around the world.
The world’s remaining Chimpanzee population can only be found in Africa; and Uganda is the finest destination for chimpanzee trekking Safaris in the East African region. Because of the 5,000 chimpanzees spread throughout a number of locations in the country, successful chimpanzee trekking and habituation safaris can be carried out in places like the Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria, Kibale National Park; the Kyambura gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park; Budongo forest in Muchison Falls Conservation Area and the Kalinzu forest which is a drive away from Mweya (in Queen Elizabeth National Park).
There are a number of interesting things that you would never expect chimpanzees to do especially because they are considered wild animals. But on encountering them during Chimpanzee Trekking safaris and Tours in Uganda, tourists will be awe-struck at how minimal the differences are between man and these animals.
Like man, chimps create and maintain bonds and relationships. Even when it grows up, a chimpanzee and its mother normally maintain a sense of connection, which is similar to how man behaves. Chimpanzees like man play and many times compose games when they are bored. Watching their creativity is something you may desire to do for a whole day, but like mountain gorillas, engagement time during a chimp tracking Uganda Safari and Tour is utmost, one (1) hour.
One other thing that has wowed us for some time is their use of tools. The first time a chimp was seen using a tool was in 1960 by a primatologist called Jane Goodall. But their level of creativity continues to grow with the years. Chimps have been seen to grab sticks and bang the ground in order to scare away their enemies; others modify objects like leaves and use them for drinking water; and some have also learnt to break the hard shells of fruits with stones or sticks.
The average death age for a chimpanzee is below 50 years, although a few extra ordinary cases have been recorded of chimpanzees aging up to sixty (60) years. For the larger part of their lifetime, chimps are very strong mammals (about 5 or 6 times stronger than an average human) perhaps that’s something we can work on as humans.
Finally, just as a majority of people have things they do daily before they sleep, so do chimps. Some humans put on their pajamas, brush their teeth; and for the believers, they kneel down for a bedtime prayer. The chimpanzees on the other hand build a brand new nest from scratch every night. Perhaps they are just curious about finding that perfect sleeping spot every night. Kibale National Park in western Uganda offers tourists the opportunity to physically engage in the full day chimpanzee trekking and habituation process. These tourists can therefore watch the chimps as they build their nest at around 7:00pm.
Our similarities with these primates should remind us of the responsibilities we have to our brothers and friends. We should find time out of our busy schedules to go and visit our brothers the Chimpanzees.
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