Baby chimp gives hope for Guinea’s famous ape tribe

Posted in 30/11/2020


Conakry (AFP), Nov 26, 2020

A dwindling tribe of chimpanzees in Guinea that leapt to prominence for uncanny abilities to use tools has a glimmer of hope after its last fertile female gave birth.

The tiny community of apes lives in a forest around the village of Bossou, in the far southeastern corner of the country.

Scientists have trekked to the remote location for decades to study the chimps’ remarkable use of tools.

They include the use of a stone hammer and anvil to crack open nuts — the most sophisticated act ever observed of humanity’s genetically closest relative.

But the number of chimps at Bossou has slumped to single figures.

The tribe is dying off and cannot be replenished by neighbouring chimp communities because forest destruction has left it isolated.

But after years of sad decline, there has been good news, said Aly Gaspard Soumah, director of the Bossou Environmental Research Institute.

Guides last week spotted the group’s last fertile female, Fanle, clutching a tiny baby on her belly, Soumah told AFP.

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