Average of 45 years
in the wild
in the wild
Monkeys, wild pigs and small antelopes are also hunted.
woodlands and grasslands
to western Tanzania and western Uganda
Our chimp exhibit models a hillside forest clearing and comes equipped with a jungle ‘gymnasium’ in the form of a multi-tiered timber platform structure. Fallen tree trunks and overhanging forest vines are purposefully placed around the area to enhance this primate ‘playground’.
Given the high intelligence of chimpanzees (they possess over 98% of the genetic blueprint of humans), we strive to provide ample opportunities for our chimps to exercise and enjoy themselves.
Puzzle boxes and ‘termite mounds’ in the exhibit are filled with condensed milk or honey. To get at the sweet treat, our chimps search for sticks that fit or shape unsuitable ones to do the job.
Chimps in the wild gather insect ‘kebabs’ or spear grubs in logs in a similar manner. They also use stones to crack nuts and leaves as napkins, or as sponges to dip for water. Tool use varies between communities — ‘culture’ may play a key part in knowledge transmission among chimps.
Young chimps usually stay with their mothers till they are seven, in order to learn survival skills. One of these skills may be knowledge of medicinal plants — chimps that appear ill have been noted to seek out herbs with healing properties. Mothers and their young develop a close bond that may last a lifetime.
Chimps communicate through body language, facial expressions, hand-clapping, grooming and kissing. Some chimps have even learnt how to use human sign language!
All known chimp groups hunt large vertebrates, though their strategies may differ considerably. Some merely collect passing prey, others hunt fast-moving prey in coordinated fashion.
Some hunting roles require elaborate coordination with other hunters and precise anticipation of the prey’s movements. Chimps that perform such roles get the lion’s share of the kill.
Young chimps may learn to hunt from the age of 10 but need another 20 years or so of practice to do so reliably.
Many rainforest animals are threatened by deforestation, habitat degradation, and the illegal wildlife trade.
Visit Mandai Nature for more information on projects and find out how you can get involved too.
At very high risk of extinction in the wild
Learn more about our wildlife from the people who know best — the keepers. In this interactive session, hear interesting quirks of the chimpanzees from our keepers.