Chimpanzees Communities in Uganda Use Unique Leaf Local Gestures to Communicate With Their Groups

Chimpanzees showed remarkable talent in communities located in East Africa. According to recent research, chimpanzees managed to use leaf-clipping and leaf-modifying local gestures to communicate with their species.

The chimpanzees in East Africa are talented and creative in terms of local communication. In addition, chimpanzees are known to be playful and social animals.

According to the World Wildlife Fund– WWF, chimpanzees (chimps) loved hanging around treetops and used sticks for hunting fish. They are also recorded as endangered due to threats of diseases, hunting and sold in black markets.

Unique communication skill

(Photo : PETER BUSOMOKE/AFP via Getty Images)
Zakay’s birthday present at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) at Entebbe Zoo

On the other hand, animals have their way of communicating, dominating and playing. The research published in the Scientific Reports explained that researchers from the University of St. Andrews looked into how chimpanzees in Budongo Forest in Uganda could communicate.

The researchers found that the chimpanzees could use leaf-modifying local gestures to communicate with their kind.

The report added that gestural dialects play effective communication tools for the chimpanzees. Communication gestures could range in many aspects, including the use of a leaf.

Known as creative and adaptable animals, chimpanzees have proven themselves using tools to find fish.

According to the report also published in, the lead author Gal Badihi explained that the two communities in East Africa exhibit unique talent and ability.

In Bundongo, the researcher explained that leaf-modifying gestures are denoted as flirting or captivating the attention of a potential partner.

The actions of chimpanzees in the research appeared to be understood by other chimpanzees. For two communities, the study explained that gestural communication was related to sexual solicitation.

On the other hand, the BBC report explained that some of the leaf-modifying meanings of chimpanzees could mean for mother and offspring to travel together.

Also Read: West African Chimpanzees Arrival at Chester Zoo in UK Gives Hopes for Rare Animal Conservation and Protection 

Although gestural communication is non-voice, the researchers noted that the chimpanzees revealed to understand each other using the said gestures. However, further research is needed to decipher the different meanings of gestures.

Communication is also important to survive in the jungle and wild, where competition is challenging.

Rare Western Chimpanzee in the UK

On the other hand, the Guardian recently reported the birth of a rare western chimpanzee at Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom. Chimpanzees are considered endangered.

However, the western chimpanzees have suffered from great decline and are listed as critically endangered. According to the report, the chimpanzees’ population was about 18,000. Habitat loss is added to the main problem that they face.

Under captivity, the life span of a western chimpanzee could reach up to 50 years. However, the report noted that western chimpanzees could live up to 25 years inside the jungle, facing challenges of hunting threats.

The arrival of male western Chimpanzees in the United Kingdom also marked a sign of hope for urgent conservation and protection efforts for critically endangered species.

The rapid decline could result in possible extinction.

The report said that the new chimpanzee in the family would be named after a rockstar.

Related Article: Fascinating Study Finds First Evidence of Lasting Social Relationships of Chimpanzees and Gorillas in Wild

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