Chimpanzees in Uganda, Rwanda & Tanzania

Chimpanzees in Uganda, Rwanda & Tanzania

Chimpanzees in Tanzania

Tanzania’s chimpanzee population has plummeted by more that 90 percent, from 10,000 a few years ago to just 700 today, according to a report from the Tanzania National Parks Authority. The Parks Authority blamed disease and predation — by humans and other mammals — for the dramatic losses. The country’s chimpanzees are located in just two habitats, making them highly susceptible to population-destroying illnesses.

Through detailed observations of Tanzanian apes, Jane Goodall revolutionized our knowledge of chimpanzee behavior.

Fifty years ago, a slender young Englishwoman was walking through a rainforest reserve at Gombe, in Tanzania, when she came across a dark figure hunched over a termite nest. A large male chimpanzee was foraging for food. So she stopped and watched the animal through her binoculars as he carefully took a twig, bent it, stripped it of its leaves, and finally stuck it into the nest. Then he began to spoon termites into his mouth.

The Gombe Stream Research Center was founded in 1965 to advance Jane Goodall’s revolutionary findings about chimpanzee tool-making and other behaviors.

It also is a living laboratory, home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees. The Center’s mission is to operate a world-class research station in which the best available methods are used to continue and further develop the long-term primate research projects begun by Dr. Jane Goodall, and to advance basic science, support conservation, and train Tanzanian scientists.


The Rwandan chimpanzee population is thought to consist of approx. 400-500 individuals, confined to the Nyungwe National Park. You’ll set off on exciting hikes in search of these endangered chimpanzee communities. Prepare to hear the excitable primates before you see them, as their pant-hoots travel through the deep forest. In small groups you’ll typically trek for around an hour and then spend an hour in the chimps’ company. You may get to see young chimps playing; adults feeding high up in the fig trees; others swinging effortlessly between the vines.


It is estimated that about 150,000 chimpanzees remaining in Africa, and about 4,000-5,700 survive in Uganda (Plumptre et al. 2003). These are found in Budongo rain forest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kalinzu, Kibale Forest, Kyambura gorge and in Semuliki as well as Ngamba Island.

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