Inside the dense shelter of Congolese jungle, far away from human hindrance, a band of apes have been found which, according to local legend, kill lions, catch fish, and even howl at the moon. The location of this species has made them almost inaccessible to researchers from all over the world. Especially western scientists are still far away from researching their habits. In recent news, The Guardian confirms the story.
Despite the remote location of the habitats, some researchers have succeeded in studying these animals. There were early speculations that the animals were of yeti type, or a chimp – gorilla hybrid species, but the reality is even more fascinating. They are actually a population of super sized chimps with a unique taste for big cat flesh.
One of the most successful researcher, Cleve Hicks of the University of Amsterdam has spent about 18 months with this ape family. He was shell-shocked to see a chimpanzee like animal feasting on the carcasses of a leopard. He was not quite sure whether the leopard was its prey, but the chimp undoubtedly has exhibited some different behavior than its cousins all over the world. Afterwards in a press meeting he said
What we have found is this completely new chimpanzee culture
His expedition is vital for several more reasons. First of all, he was the first person to get so close to the apes and photograph them. Until now only glimpses of this giant were recorded either by a split vision or a hidden camera, but complete recording of image gave the entire thing a very scientific platform. In another conversation Mr. Hicks said
We were told of this sort of fabled land out west by one of our trackers who go out there to fish… I call it the magic forest. It is a very special place
Getting to the place was as daunting as anything else. A trek of around 25 miles through dense forest and crocodile rich water bodies took him to the destination. Upon reaching the place he noticed some change in behavior of the chimps. The denser the forest became, the wilder the chimps became and beyond a point they did not show any sign of their normal fear of humans. They are different in other aspects also. Unlike their counterparts in all over the world, these chimps bed down on the ground. Mr. Hicks said
How can they get away with sleeping on the ground when there are lions, leopards, golden cats around as well as other dangerous animals like elephants and buffalo?
He has an answer to his own question. May be due to the carnivorous nature of these apes, the predators avoid them. He told in another section
I don’t like to paint them as being more aggressive, but maybe they prey on some of these predators and the predators kind of leave them alone
These findings have created surprise among scientists all around the world. These kinds of chimp activity are not known anywhere. These chimps seem to have left their counterparts far behind and evolved as the need arose in the remote location of the forest.
The ground nests were very big and there was obviously something very unusual going on there. They are not unknown elsewhere but very unusual
said Colin Groves, an expert on primate morphology at the Australian National University in Canberra who has observed the nests in the field.
The most surprising aspect of these animals is their size. These mammoth animals are perhaps the largest among their entire genre. These are in fact much larger than they were expected to be. However, the future of this giant ape is far from secure. The local lawlessness and absence of a strong central government over the area makes the species vulnerable to attacks. There should be laws enforced immediately before it is too late.
Source: The Guardian