Main reserch sites of wild chimpanzees(blue circle indicates bonobos)
Long-term Studies of Wild Chimpanzees
The first long-term study of wild chimpanzees by the Japanese has been carried out in Mahale Mts. which is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania, since 1965. The destribution of chimpanzee habitats is extended from western Africa(Senegal) to central Africa (Uganda, Tanzania). There are three sub-spesies. The chimpanzees of Mahale Mts. belong to Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii. The other two sub-species, Pan troglodytes verus and Pan troglodytes troglodytes, are also studied by Japanese Researchers at Bossou in Guinia and Ndoki in Congo, respectively. Bonobos (Pigmy chimpanzees), another species of Pan, have also been studied since 1974, at Wamba, Zaire.
ĦĦThe initial stage of research at Mahale was realized by provisioning chimpanzees with sugarcane and bananas, but since the habituation had been established researchers began to decrease the amount of bait in 1981 and completely abandoned provisioning in 1987. At present researchers are following chimpanzees that range freely in a huge forest (30 km2) searching for natural foods. By observing chimps in natural conditions, some natures of their behavior, ecology, and society so close to humans have been revealed.
Such discoveries as tool use and medicinal plant use have surprised us since there have been belief that such properties could be ascribed to only humans. In addition, a lot of other academic reports have been done on chimpanzee nature such as their unit-group, social structure in which only females transfer to neighboring unit-groups, political interactions among adult males, meat sharing, and infanticide.
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