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Lethal chimpanzee attacks on gorillas seen for first time in the wild

July 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 46%. 1 min read.

Chimpanzees' lethal attacks on gorillas in the wild have been observed for the first time, a team of researchers has said.

(CNN)Chimpanzees' lethal attacks on gorillas in the wild have been observed for the first time, a team of researchers has said.

Experts observing dozens of chimps at Loango National Park in Gabon had expected them to be relaxed around gorillas.

"But then, we heard chest beats, a display characteristic for gorillas, and realized that the chimpanzees had encountered a group of five gorillas," she added, referencing the first attack the team saw, in 2019.

The two encounters they recorded, which lasted 52 and 79 minutes, saw the chimpanzees form coalitions and launch attacks on the gorillas.

"Our observations provide the first evidence that the presence of chimpanzees can have a lethal impact on gorillas.

"Interactions between chimpanzees and gorillas have so far been considered as relatively relaxed," said Simone Pika, a cognitive biologist at Osnabrück University.

Our colleagues from Congo even witnessed playful interactions between the two great ape species," Pika said.

"It could be that sharing of food resources by chimpanzees, gorillas and forest elephants in the Loango National Park result in increased competition and sometimes even in lethal interactions between the two great ape species," Deschner said.

The region is home to the western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species.

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