Gorilla and Chimpanzee Coexistence
Chimpanzees reside in sympatry with western lowland gorillas throughout much of western equatorial Africa. Observations of interspecific interactions between these species are however rare and often fleeting. The Goualougo Triangle is the only site to habituate both species of apes to the presence of human observers, providing a unique opportunity to study interactions between these two great ape species. Over the course of this project we have documented a variety of contexts and revealed a greater diversity of interactions than previously recognized. On many occasions, chimpanzees and gorillas feed in close proximity and engage in a range of social interactions, including social play, sexual interactions and spread of information. Our current research is unravelling the environmental phenomena and the dynamics of chimpanzees and gorillas associated shared strategies and promises to reveal a greater depth to their social awareness than previously imagined.
The spectrum of interactions among sympatric chimpanzees and gorillas includes extended bouts of play among young individuals.
Chimpanzees and gorillas in the Goualougo most often overlap when feeding on fruits. At least four species of Ficus are known to be visited by both species of apes.
Interspecies interactions also include communication and display behaviors such as gorillas chest-beating at chimpanzees in the canopy above.