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Africa Safari - Tanzania
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Gombe Chimpanzee Trekking Safari Experience

Gombe Stream National Park - Contents Table

Chimpanzees are the part of the ape family and share a special genetic relationship with human beings, over 99%, making them the closest relative of modern man. Just like humans, chimps share common physical and behavioral patterns with men such as have large brain, social characteristics and intelligence. Apes, which include chimpanzees and gorillas, are found across sub-Saharan Africa apart from Tanzania, in countries such Congo, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

Chimps of Gombe National Park: Chimpanzees found at Gombe that were studied by Jane Goodall have been categorized in 3 communities: Kasakela, Mitumba and Kalande. Chimpanzees found in Gombe are smaller in size than those found at Mahale Mountains National Park with adult weight about 35-50 kilograms and females being smaller and weighing less, with a lifespan of 30 to 45 years. Close interaction of Gombe chimps with humans has instilled peculiar behavioral practices such as avoidance and teasing. The chimps of Gombe when aware that they are being watched would turn their back on their onlookers, move away from the regular home range, attempt to climb trees and be illusive about their presence and whereabouts. This was not observed in the chimps at Mahale.

Chimpanzees also live in home ranges of around 30 kilometers in communities of 20-100 chimps. These communities also have smaller groups of chimps, which is the case at Gombe found in numbers of 3-6 chimps. At Gombe it was also noted that there was a direct relationship in the number of males, and corresponding home range of the communities i.e. the more males, the greater the home range.

Chimpanzee Mating: Female chimpanzees come into heat every 36 days. On any given visit to Gombe, AfricanMecca guests might be able to spot conditions when the female develops a pink swelling on her rear side signaling to males in her communities that she is ready to mate. Mating often takes with multiple male chimps of all ages. As the female chimp gets older, she settles for a selective relationship with a few males. It is also not uncommon to find females chimps crossing home ranges and communities to mate with other males.

Chimpanzee Family and Communities: Chimpanzees like humans care for their young. After an 8-month gestation period, an infant, colored in light pink fur is born and is nurtured to the age of 3 to 4 years. It is quite common to find young chimps being attached to the mother for a third of their life.

AfricanMecca can find on a lucky day a group of 2 to 4 chimpanzees engaging in a grooming practice, which apart from fur cleansing also is meant to create a courteous relationship between the engaging chimps of either sex. Just like humans, family and community characteristics of a chimp population vary from region to region.

Chimpanzee Interactions: During your Chimpanzee safari with AfricanMecca, guests are likely to encounter varying sounds made by the chimpanzees from various parts of the forest. Guests and the guides assigned to them will use their hearing senses to track the chimps. The sounds made include hooting, pant-hoot, screeching or howling-barks. The sounds are made when chimps encounter excitement, fear or food.

Chimpanzee Food Gathering And Hunting: Chimp intelligence is displayed
greatly in the practice of food gathering and hunting. Chimps are omnivorous;
they selectively eat plants, fruit, tree barks, insects, seeds, nuts, eggs and as
well as other smaller animals such as bushpigs. They spend at least six hours
of their day feeding, with most of that time spent on foraging for fruit, and the
rest time divided into eating leaves and other nutrients. The intelligence factor
in the chimpanzees also helps them map out a food source schedule where
depending on the season what particular food would be available in
abundance. This helps the chimp be more successful in their natural selection
and therefore adapt more easily to the circumstances. It was interesting to
note that competition for food at Gombe between chimpanzees and baboons
has led many of chimps to scatter in directions on the upper levels of Gombe
National Park allowing them more access to other sources of food which
otherwise would have not been possible. The challenge for conservationists is
to make certain the availability of food on higher altitudes at all times of the
year.

Next Section - Gombe Ecosystem

Previous Section - Introducing Gombe Stream National Park

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