In the Kibale Rainforest - Ramona Heiner Photography

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In the Kibale Rainforest

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Kibale National Park in Uganda, Africa

Kibale National Park is a national park in South Uganda protecting moist evergreen rain forest. The Park is located in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge, approximately 320 kilometres, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. Fort Portal in Kabarole District is the nearest large city to the national park. It's tropical type of climate has two rainy periods - March to May and September to November. Kibale National Forest has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees, as well as the red colobus monkey and to over 325 species of birds, 4 wild fellids, 13 species of primates, a total of at least 60 other species of mammals, and over 250 tree species.The forest understory is dominated by shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs, which include Palisota schweinfurthii and Pollia condensata, in addition to ferns and broad leaf grasses.

For a better view, please click on each image for enlargement.


Chimpanzee Trekking in the Kibale Rainforest,
Uganda, Africa


I attended in June 2015 the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, a lifetime experience that allowed me to accompany the Kibale Forest Research and Habituation Team watching a Group of chimpanzee during their daily activities. These Group of chimpanzees was used to human presence in their natural environment. I was able to observe them swing from one tree to another, feed, play and groom each other. Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to humans. in fact they share over 98 percent of their DNA. They are sociable, intelligent as well as communicative and among their very fascinating traits is the ability to utilize tools like rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for hollowing out water plus sticks for capturing termites from their holes. A chimpanzee’s life expectancy is at 40 years. We share as humans so much with chimpanzees, not only percentage of their DNA, but kindness, tolerance, freedom of being, acceptance, honesty, being playful, loving, caring and a lot more.

   


We started in a small group of seven people with a ranger at 6 am in the morning, making our way through the rain forest to find the chimpanzees, where we soon could hear their loud vocal sounds.
But our first wildlife encounter, before we even met the chimpanzees was when we walked deeper in the rain forest. A group of olive baboons (Papio anubis), also called the Anubis baboon, was greeting us with yawning, sitting behind or in front of trees, bushes and leaves. They were slowly waking up.


   


From my own experience I can tell, that there are often trees close to each other with several branches hanging down or a tree trunk is lying on the muddy floor and you need to walk or climb over the tree trunk to continue the walk through the rain forest. Beware these tree trunks can be wet too and walking on them takes just one step at a time (step by step). Then you find yourself again walking through the forest with branches from the trees hanging very deep down. Perhaps the person in front of you is kind enough to break down or hold the branch of a tree so you can pass and you can do this for the next person walking behind you. And some of the wild bushes have sometimes thorns.

For a better view, please click on each image for enlargement.


When we started the trekking our ranger advised everyone of our small group to stay on the trail in the group and not to run around in the forest, since it might scare the chimpanzees and they might become upset throwing fruits down from the trees above. I experienced this too a couple of times, that they were throwing something from the tree. What can you do? You just stand still.

We were also told if we get close to a chimpanzee to respect it is still a wild animal. The conditions to take images have been actually not so good and no flash was allowed to use. We were moving alot and our ranger spoted a chimpanzee that was sitting on the ground. Quickly joined us a different group of Chimpanzee trackers with their ranger and all sort of camera's including smart phones were clicking away.



This chimpanzee was called "Totti". He was the alpha male chimpanzee of the group and got his name from an italian football player. The chimpanzee was first sitting and then lying down on the half wet ground surrounded by bushes, leaves and fern....he was dreaming away."Totti" didn't felt disturbed, he seemed used to humans and rather started to clean his fur, or eat some leaves....then a yawn and his large yellowish teeth appeared....but then he had enough, got up from the ground, turned around and climbed up on a tree.

But again this loud noisy sound made us aware, there are alot of the chimps nearby. Even the young chimpanzees can watch you from their tree-nest.



It was around midday, when three people of our group left us to four with the ranger. We could finally join a small group of chimpanzees that was grooming each other and had a little teenage chimpanzee pulling funny faces. Never have been that close to wildlife and they didn't bother....they enjoyed their laziness in the sun and took little naps or were grooming again until they walked to a different area in the forest.

"If it want's to pass to keep a minimum distance of  1 m and stay calm, don't move, just let the chimps pass." - the ranger said. The teenage chimpanzee was playing on a tree trunk and the older chimps lying down, resting. What an ectraordinary experience.




More chimpanzee images can be found and viewed in the Gallery:
Uganda - Kibale Forest Nationalpark.


Sounds of chimpanzees of the Kibale Forest, Uganda, Africa

To give you an impression what chimpanzee trekking is really about, how it looks like, being in the "wild" forest, with "wild" chimpanzees, please watch above videos.

Chimpanzees communicate with a wide range of verbal (calls) and non-verbal (postures and gestures)
communications. Chimpanzees use verbal communication, such as alarm calls, mating calls, and greeting vocalizations.

TIA (THIS IS AFRICA)....this is Wildlife....this is the Kibale Rainforest...
This was my Chimpanzee Trekking Experience  2015.


I hope you enjoy my chimpanzee images and video's from the Kibale Forest in Uganda, Africa.
Thanks for visiting! ~ Ramona Heiner ~



 
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