New Cases of Intergroup Violence Among Chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania

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Despite considerable attention to chimpanzee intergroup violence, the number of observed cases remains small. We report 4 cases of intergroup violence that occurred in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, between 1993 and 2002. We observed (3 cases) or inferred (1 case) males from the Kasekela community to attack members of their 2 neighboring communities: Mitumba and Kalande. In 1993, Kasekela males killed and ate a female infant from Mitumba. In 1998, Kasekela males captured 2 infants (sex unknown) from Kalande, one of which escaped and the other was killed and eaten. Also in 1998, Kasekela males attacked an adolescent male from Kalande. The victim was alive but severely injured by the end of the attack. The intensity and duration of the attack are comparable to other attacks that resulted in fatal injuries. In 2002, observers found the body of an adolescent male from Mitumba following an incursion by Kasekela males into the area. The injuries inflicted on the Mitumba male together with circumstantial evidence suggest that Kasekela males killed him. The attacks support the view that intergroup violence is a persistent feature of chimpanzee societies and that the primary benefit attackers gain from them is reduced competition for resources.

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