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The Eastern Chimpanzees of Kahuzi-Biega National Park

The Eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) is a category of the common chimpanzee. It occurs in the Central African Republic, Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania.

The 2007 IUCN Red List classified them as Endangered.  Although the common chimpanzee is the most abundant and widespread of the non-human great apes, recent declines in East Africa are expected to continue due to hunting and loss of habitat. Because chimpanzees and humans are so physiologically similar, chimpanzees yield to many diseases that affect humans. If not properly managed, research and tourism also presents a risk of disease transmission between humans and chimpanzees.


Adult chimpanzees in the wild contemplate between 40 and 65 kilograms (88 and 143 pounds). Males can measure up to 160 centimetres (63 inches) and females up to 130 centimetres (51 inches) in height. The chimpanzee’s frame is covered with coarse black hair, except for the face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Both of its thumbs and its big toes are opposable, allowing a precision grip.

The chimpanzee occupies time both in trees and on the ground, but commonly sleeps in a tree, where it builds a nest for the night. They once inhabited most of this region, but their habitat has been dramatically reduced in recent years.

Behaviors of the Eastern Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees animate in societies that usually range from 20 to more than 150 members, but spend most of their time wandering in small parties of just a few individuals. The eastern chimpanzee is both arboreal and native and spend its nights in the trees, while most of its daytime hours are spent on the ground.

Chimpanzees walk using the soles of their feet and their knobs, and they can walk upright for short distances. Common chimpanzees are ‘knuckle walkers’, like gorillas, in contrast to the quadrupedal locomotion (a form of land animal locomotion using four legs) of primates and bonobos known as ‘palm walkers’ who use the outside edge of their palms.

When confronted by a predator, chimpanzees will react with loud screams and use any object they can get against the threat. The leopard is the chimpanzee’s main natural predator, but they have also fallen prey to lions.

Like humans, chimpanzees are omnivorous, meaning their diet consists of plants and animals. Some of the foods a chimpanzee will eat include seeds, fruits, leaves, bark, insects such as termites and small prey. Chimpanzees will often use a twig as a tool to help them reach termites or ants in nests and have been seen using sticks to hunt other small mammals.

There are also instances of organized hunting. In some cases, such as the killing of leopard cubs, this primarily seems to be a protective effort, since the leopard is the main natural predator of the common chimpanzee. However, the common chimpanzee sometimes bands together and hunts western red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus badius) for meat. Isolated cases of cannibalism have also been documented.

Want to visit Kahuzi-Biega?

Kahuzi-Biega National Park, is a secure area close to Bukavu town in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.