Dstv Dailynews  Mobile

When chimpanzee fought the greatest war in the jungle

LAST week one radio station aired a special programme about a war which lasted for four years involving more than two chimpanzees’ communities, from that report we have seen a need to go down to the history of what caused Gombe Stream National Park to have its mark on the books of world history.

On the other side history tells us from 1950 to 1953 the world witnessed a long war between brother and sisters from south and north Korea, the war erupted as the world was still contemplating on what happened in the second world war which took place from 1939 to 1945.

In general terms, psychologists say in opposite of peace, warfare can be defined as an intense armed conflict between states or societies which is characterised with extreme violence, aggression, destruction and mortality which result after the excessive use of force, from time in history the world has witnessed different wars but from 1973 to 1977 scientists recorded one of the longest war in record of the world.

The war was not fought on the banks of Euphrates or in the banana farms on the banks of Weruweru river on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, history tells us that the war erupted and fought violently deep in the tropical forests of what is known today as Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.

Zoologists say due to different factors societies and countries fight each other and deep in the forest because of different factors chimpanzee’s communities fight and kill each other, scientists say among these primates, war is a common practice because waging revenging warfare against one or more communities is part of their culture.

Chimpanzees live in communities which are made by 10 to 120 individuals, on the other side for researches reasons inside Gombe Stream National Park scientists have given names to these communities so Kasekela, Mitumba, Kalande and Kahama are popular from the first in 1960 when Jane Goodall and other researchers arrived in the park.

History of modern time tells us the first world war erupted after archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was killed on 28.06.1914 in Sarajevo and triggered one of the largest war in human history, to show that a war can erupt in any place regardless of culture or level of civilization on 07.01.1974, Godi a juvenile chimp from Kahama community was killed by marauding males from Kasekela community after the innocent chimp crossed the border.

Researchers in what is seen as not border crossing by the victim, at the beginning of the war four male from Kasekela community moved in and started to attack and kill any member of Kahama community who was found on their way and that was done to show and define their mission into their neighbor’s territory and that is way some analysts say the motive of this war was expansion of hunting ground by the marauding male.

On their side, zoologists say the Kasekela community was turned into rampaging killers after they were pushed into the edge by human economic activities which restricted them into a smaller area and that resulted of most members to become tired of eating one or two types of fruits and leaves, and to emphasize their intention at the end of the first attack three female were taking into captive and forced to move to Kasekela along with the warriors from the community which had a plan of expanding its boarders.

Scientists say two separate reports done by Hugo Van Lawick and Jane Goodall indicated that in 1960s the population of chimpanzees inside Gombe Stream National Park was growing very fast at one time it reached 150 and was going against a dwindling hunting ground which being affected by human’s economic activities.

The situation got complicated because the occurrence of attacks from one community to another reached at highest levels in 1975 due to the expeditions of waging retaliation attacks from one community to another, that was a time when many chimpanzees who were staying at southern part of the park got killed when the marauding killers from Kasekela community moved in to make a revenge against what Goliath the leader of Kahama did in the past.

It is being narrated by researchers that sometime in 1970 Goliath led a group of six males to start volatile rebellion that divided the main Kasekela community and formed the Kahama community, on their side elders of the Kasekela group were not happy with the move so they waited for the good time to teach the rebels a good lesson and that was 1970 when Kasekela had more and strong warriors.

History of Gombe Stream National Park indicate that was the time when hostility between the two community reached the highest level and members of each community was ready to go into a war with the opposing community, the situation was fueled by prejudice habit by members of the Kahama community who were not willing to play or eat with members of Kasekela community.

The bigotry habit by Kahama community caused anger to grow among members of Kasekela community and the situation got worse when bloody thirsty male under the leadership of Figan, Faben, Humphrey, Sherry and Jomeo moved into the southern part of the park to attack to kill anyone who was found on their way.

Records show from 1973 attacks between the two communities increased with number of fatalities also rose from all sides, it was during that time when three males from Kahama communities where found dead after being attacked my males from Kasekela community, in 1977 another male from Kahama community was found dead after being attacked by males from the opposing community.

Analysts say that was the time when Gombe Stream National Park witnessed volatile encounters between dwellers of this peaceful national park and the situation got tough in 1975 when Goliath the rebel leader became weak and unable to lead his community against attacks from their enemies.

Different researches indicate that members of the mighty Kasekela community became very strong because of reliable source of food from a large area which they controlled compared with a smaller one which was controlled by Kahama community, unlike their opponents who were restricted into a smaller area, the size of Kasekela community hunting ground enabled their muscles to be stronger because they were free to play from one point to another.

Good supply of food contributed into the growth of population which was seen when 40 members from Kasekela attacked 14 males from Kahama community, to make the situation more complicated the attacks brought into the war males from Kalande community who fought against Kahama from the southern part and during the ferocious attacks an innocent female from Kasekele community was injured, two infants from Kasekela community were killed and Humphrey a warrior from the same community was badly injured.

On their side, psychologists say the above account indicate the presence of a common interest among members of Kasekela community which liked to fight with other communities in the Gombe Stream National Park, several factors probably led to the outbreak of the war but protectionism and the will of expanding the hunting ground played a big role because with the desire of put the whole area under their control, the Kasekela community fought a two borders war as they invaded and attacked Mitumba community on the northern side while the war against Kahama community on the southern part was still going on.

Filled with the desire of expanding their territory, the Kasekela community paid a painful price when a popular member Fifi who also was the oldest daughter of Flo was injured.

From different parts of the world, history shows whenever there is war different factors are combined to justify it, first an attempt to reduce the enemy’s capability through open battle, a conflict between two populations of drastically different levels of military capability or size, a war where the forces in conflict belong to the same nation or political entity and are vying for control of or independence from that nation or political entity or a warfare by any means possible, disregarding the laws of war, placing no limits on legitimate military targets, using weapons and tactics that result in significant civilian casualties.

From the above details you will agree with me that in 1977 the Kasekela community continued to attack the Kahama community to kill Charley and put total control of the hunting ground, the death of its leader pushed Kahama community into a total disintegration as all females surrendered themselves to males from Kasekela who put total grip into the whole area.


Author: Reginald Stanislaus Matillya

Post your comments

Recent Posts


more headlines in our related posts

latest # news