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Chimpanzees Outsmart Hunters

Chimpanzees Outsmart Hunters

Five male chimpanzees living in a forest in Africa have learned how to deactivate and destroy snares set out by hunters.

 

The latest issue of the scientific journal Primates reported that scientists have been observing an interesting phenomenon demonstrated by five male wild chimps living in Bossou, Guinea. 

 

The group has not only learned how to outsmart hunters who set out traps, but these clever fellows are teaching the technique to younger chimpanzees, as well.

 

The discovery was made when researchers realized that the chimpanzees living in a particular forest suffered from very few snare-related injuries and deaths – compared to primates living in other areas.

The traps are notorious for cutting off the arms or legs of the chimpanzees.

 

In Bossou hunters are actually trying to catch cane rats rather than chimps, but many times other animals get caught in the snares. 

 

Discovery News said, “Villagers at Bossou do not eat chimpanzees because they think of chimps as the reincarnation of their ancestors.”

 

Researchers from the Japan Monkey Center observed the Bossou chimpanzees for nearly two years. During that time they recorded six instances where five different male chimps took specific steps to deactivate or destroy traps they found.

 

In one instance, a male chimpanzee came to the aid of a female and her one-year-old infant who were moaning by a snare that had caught and killed an antelope.  The chimp grabbed hold of the snare and shook it until it broke.

 

Another time a group of adult chimps huddled around a young male while he “completely deactivated the snare by causing ropes attached to it to become untied.”

The scientists believed the adults were watching the younger chimp as a kind of test, suggesting the deactivation technique may “have been passed down through the generations and carried on in the group as culture.”

 

In other parts of Africa chimpanzees are often maimed by the snares and loss of limbs is common.

 

In a forest in Uganda researchers found 10 out of 16 males with injuries to their limbs and in another forest one-fifth of all the chimps had limb deformities because of the snares.

 

Chimpanzees in these other forests are known to use their voices to alert each other about the traps. 

 

 

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437 comments

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7:45PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Cane rats are a nuisance and are good eating for the Bossou who need the protein. My immediate thought is to have a local blacksmith in Senegal learn to make small sized 'live traps', like those used here when we want to catch and release a nuisance animal to another location. If the traps are small enough, then chimps won't be able to enter them.

I give credit to the Bossou for not eating the chimps. Other Africans could learn a thing from them!

6:50AM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Go Chimps! They increase their knowledge as they are intelligent!

9:15AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

Go Chimps! Now you just need to take those traps and set them for the hunters~

1:47AM PST on Feb 8, 2011

Chimps are extremely intelligent.

12:13AM PST on Feb 8, 2011

wonderful news wish more chimps do the same.

9:40AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

Hooray for the Chimps! I don't understand why those traps are still legal. There ARE more humane ways to trap animals that don't harm or hurt them.

93% of the voters said that trapping wild animals should be banned. I am wondering if all of you who voted that way are vegan.

Trapping wild animals means the animal lived free and natural until death. Whereas, the alternative, for meat eaters, is USUALLY tortured factory farmed animals. There aren't enough organic, animal friendly farms to feed the world yet.

Do you want the people of Guinea to create factory fams in order to eat? You aren't going to get them to become vegetarians. If they are eating cane rats, that probably means they aren't getting enough to eat in the first place.

9:45AM PST on Feb 5, 2011

We all have the survival instinct...too bad humans do not honor that basic right in all living beings. Maybe one day we will start to "agree" with our conscience!

7:34PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

Good on the Chimps, it does not surprise me that they are so clever. What surprises me is that the human species is so dumb as to believe they are the only species capable of thinking!

9:04AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

From the instant when chimpanzees are our closest "cousins" of the branch of primates, and when we share with them more than 90 % of our gene pool, according to studies, comportementalistes will reveal more anthropomorphic traits.

10:59PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

I can't wait for the story when the chimps rewire the traps for people

Go chimps go!

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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