Predators—Natural Enemies—Of Chimps And Bonobos
Are there animals that prey on chimpanzees and bonobos in the wild—natural chimpanzee enemies? After all, not only are adult chimps large and powerful animals, but there is safety in numbers, and chimps travel in groups. In fact, there are some chimpanzee enemies and, as with almost every wild animal, the young and the small have the most to fear from them.
Chimps and bonobos are primarily rainforest animals, and the top predator in the African rain forest is the leopard. Leopards rank number two among chimpanzee and bonobo enemies: A leopard is strong enough to tackle a full-grown chimpanzee or even a gorilla, although it would no doubt prefer to attack one of the younger, easier-to-kill members of an ape family.
Some East African chimps live on the forested edges of a vast grassland called the savannah, and it is in these open areas that lions join leopards at the apex of the African food chain—and also at the top of the chimpanzee enemies list.
Other potential chimpanzee enemies, whether in the rainforest or on the savannah, include crocodiles and huge pythons, which can grow to 20 feet (6 meters) or more in length.
But by far, Man is number one among all chimpanzee enemies. Not only are people rapidly cutting down the trees that make up the chimpanzee’s rainforest habitat, but humans in many African countries kill and eat chimpanzees, even though it is illegal to do so.