Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale

Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale is a unique way you can interact with the chimpanzees in the wild setting o Kibale Forest National Park with guidance from rangers. Unlike chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation is much an exhilarating activity that allows you to learn the real behaviors of the wild chimpanzees in their natural environment. Chimpanzee habituation experience is a very good activity that you can engage in if at all you want to intrinsically learn about the real behaviors of the wild primates. However much it is so interesting and everyone would love to join in to a chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale national park, chimpanzee habituation is much a scientific experiment than just an activity for visitors; it is an experiment that allows researchers to learn about the wild behaviors and adaptability of the chimpanzees with in the natural setting, as well as making them used to human encounter for tourism purposes. 

Chimpanzee Habituation

On a usual basis, visitors are given just one hour which they spent to interact with the chimpanzee community they intended to trek.  But chimpanzee habituation will give you a full day of learning the chimpanzees from the morning when they get out of the tree nests to the evening when they go back to the new tree nests. Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda is mainly done in Kibale national park within the western region in the district of kabarole, kamwenge among others. Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park is done with in Kanyanchu section, therefore, if you are to join in for the chimpanzee habituation experience in kanyanchu sector of Kibale national park, you must at least spend the night in kanyanchu or near kanyanchu since the habituation for the chimpanzees starts as early as 5:00 am in the morning, with in kanyanchu sector of Kibale national park.

The reason as to why Kibale national park is the right destination for your chimpanzee habituation experience is because; Kibale national park is one of the national parks in Africa with a lot of chimpanzees. Kibale forest national park is a home to over 1500 chimpanzee; about ¼ of the chimpanzees in Africa. Kibale forest national park also got a number of chimpanzee communities therefore it needs not a lot of trekking to find a community of chimps to trek for the habituation process. Just like the habituation for the mountain gorillas in bwindi impenetrable national park and golden monkey habituation in Mgahinga national park, chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park is also lead by a professional research and guide form the offices of the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) of Kibale national park at Kanyanchu.

Chimpanzee habituation process

Chimpanzee habituation not that famous activity in Uganda compared to chimpanzee trekking, this is mainly due to the endangered status that the chimpanzee have on the UNESCO (united nations educational scientific and conservation organization) chart; there is not a lot of chimpanzees in Uganda to include in the habituation program. 

Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national is conducted in the Kanyanchu sector of the forest which is found in the northern part of Kibale forest national park; the northern part of Kibale national park, kanyanchu, is dominated with dense forest with thick undergrowth characterized with climbing plants and shrubs. Kanyanchu is favorable for chimpanzee habituation because it has the biggest community of chimpanzees in all the groups with in Kibale national park; you stand an 85% chance to see the chimpanzees in the shortest distance of trekking with in kanyanchu sector of Kibale national park. Before you begin your chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park, make sure that the food or your meals for the day are all catered for since it is a full day activity. Make sure that you have breakfast; it has to be an early breakfast. The lodges will prepare for you your early breakfast together with your colleagues; breakfast should be taken before 5:30 am because it is when chimpanzee habituation starts at kanyanchu.  Also, your lunch has to be packed for you from the lodge where you reside near or at Kanyanchu in Kibale national park.

Chimpanzee habituation, then, starts with briefing at kanyanchu when all the trekkers for the process and the researchers are gathered. After the briefing, you can follow your guide and the researcher into the forest to track the chimpanzee community you intend to study for the day. From the time of briefing to the time you meet the chimpanzee group you intend to study, it will be about 6:30 am; this is the time when the chimpanzees get up and down from the tree nests for the pas night. From this time, you are expected to be all ears and eyes open to observe the different chimpanzee behaviors because the results might be included into the research findings.

During chimpanzee habituation, you can learn a lot about the different behavioral patterns of the different chimpanzees in a group like feeding habits, copulation in the morning, socialization, the chimpanzee skills of using tools, communication skills of the chimpanzees, socialization among others. You should also keep your eyes open when following your chimpanzee group during the habituation experience. Kibale national park is also a home to over 350 birds, elephants, other 12 primate species like the black and white colobus monkeys, the red monkeys, the blue colobus monkeys, olive baboons and the rare l’hoest’s monkeys among others, buffaloes, bush pigs, among other creatures of the forest.

The chimpanzee habituation process can be long for more than two years; therefore, the chimpanzees are mainly differentiated by their scars on the body, height, the color of the fur on their bodies, their sex, and the gender. However, when the habituation is about to be done, the chimpanzees are named by the researchers and it is very memorable if you could join in on one of the chimpanzee naming days; mainly the newborn are named and it can be such a life changing experience. These identifications given to the chimpanzees help the researchers to keep track of the chimpanzee behavioral changes as the time of habituation goes on.

However, you can only have an experience of chimpanzee habituation for a few days in Kibale national park. But each day of chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park will develop your love for primates stronger and stronger. Finally, by the end of the day, you will have all the interesting time with the chimpanzees, like taking photos as they feed, have intercourse, play, and communicate and many other behaviors and traits of different chimpanzees in the forest. You can finalize your day for chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale national park at around 6:30 pm, in the evening; this is when the chimpanzees start folding the tree branches to make new nests for the new night.

Chimpanzee Habituation
Chimpanzee Habituation

What to carry for chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale national park

Being a thick part of the Kibale forest, you need to get really prepared to pass through the thick undergrowth during chimpanzee habituation in the Kanyanchu sector of Kibale national park. Long sleeved shirts of camouflaging colors are not a bad idea, a pair of long trousers, hiking boots, raincoat in the bag pack, a water bottle, hat, binoculars, camera, insect repellant, and most important your packed lunch among others.

Rules for chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park

  • Always keep with in a group the forest is full of wild creature that can cause harm to you
  • Keep a safe distance from where the chimpanzees are; about 7 meters aways
  • Keep the national and do not litter anything while trekking the chimpanzees
  • Chimpanzee habituation experience is not allowed for the persons under the age of 15 years
  • Keep your voice low or else the chimpanzees can get violent
  • Do not use flashlight cameras while with the chimpanzees
  • Do not give anything for eating to the chimpanzees
  • Sick people are not allowed for chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park, among others.

In a synopsis, Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale national park can be a real-life chance for you to learn about the distinctive chimpanzee habits and behaviors like how mating or copulation, feeding habits, communication skills, food hunting skills, and socialization among others. Chimpanzee habituation reduces the negative response of the chimpanzee to human encounter; you stand a 20% chance to see off even spend a full hour with a group of chimps that is not habituated, and a 95% chance is at all the chimpanzee group is habituated. Therefore, chimpanzee habituation brings good results to all the visitors to Kibale national park for primate safaris.

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