Chimpanzees are attacking people in Uganda, part of a disturbing trend going on in the country that has led to crop loss and even death.
National Geographic reports that the problem has been going on for several years, citing an incident in 2014 that saw a chimp fatally attack a 2-year-old child, stealing the baby from his mother.
“A chimpanzee came in the garden as I was digging,” Ntegeka Semata said in an interview with the publication. She noted that her four young children were with her and as she turned her back to get water, the chimp took her child by the hand and ran off. The child screamed, which caused the other villagers to pay attention and chase after him, but it was too late. “It broke off the arm, hurt him on the head, and opened the stomach and removed the kidneys,” Semata continued, adding that the child died on the way to the local hospital.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is aware of the issue. On its website, it notes that chimps can "be aggressive and unfriendly, particularly towards unrelated individuals."
Chimps are humans' closest living relatives, sharing "at least 94 [percent] of its DNA," according to the UWA.
Sociable, communicative and intelligent, these mammals are able to use tools such as rocks to smash open nuts, empty pods to scoop water and get termites out of their nests by using sticks. But with their habitat being threatened by a growing population, chimps are getting closer to human settlements.
Listed as endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are believed to be less than 300,000 chimps across the African continent.
It is illegal in Uganda to kill chimps, but occasionally permission is granted if a male chimp goes rogue.
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