Chimpanzees are highly intelligent, social animals with a startlingly complex culture. They live in stable communities which range in size from 15 to 150 members, although individuals tend to travel and forage in much smaller groups (4). Males stay in their natal community for life and male relationships are ordered in a strict linear hierarchy, which allows many disputes to be settled without the need for violence (4); males are also dominant over all of the females in the group (5). Chimpanzees are long-lived and do not reach sexual maturity until they are around 10 to 11 years old, with inter-birth intervals of around five years (5). Young chimpanzees develop slowly and are weaned at around four years old (4), although they retain strong ties with their mother after this.
Chimps are active throughout the day and feed mainly on fruit, supplementing their diet with leaves, flowers, seeds and insects when fruit is scarce (4). Meat is a favourite food for chimps and groups will cooperate together to hunt and kill monkeys (5). Chimpanzees are remarkably dextrous and are one of the few species to exhibit tool use; from fly wisps and nutcrackers to rods used to probe for ants and termites (4). Chimps exhibit complex communication in the form of expressions, postures and calls (5); social grooming is vital for maintaining bonds between individuals (4).