Kwitanga forest is still home to approximately 26 chimpanzees (13-52) at 1.2 (0.6–2.4) individuals per sq km. High chimpanzee density and population size estimates in Kwitanga forest make this area an important conservation objective for Greater Gombe Ecosystem.
Other recent chimpanzee sightings have been reported in areas bordering Gombe National Park: southeast of Mwamgongo to southeast of Bugamba, and western Mgaraganza. Gombe chimpanzees visit these areas occasionally to feed on banana and oil palm on people’s farms. In some cases chimpanzee feed on natural food species occurring in the area, such as Matunguru (Afromomum spp ) that ripen in April and May every year.
Gombe chimpanzees travel as far as three kilometers south of the Park’s southern boundary in a valley, east of the Rift Escarpment between the lake shore village of Mtanga and the inland village of Mgaraganza. Chimpanzees were observed from a footpath passing from Mgaraganza to Mtanga through Kisenga sub-village, a Burundi settlement of farmers, and from the farmed slopes above Kazinga and Ngelwe.
Forest and woodland loss to farmland, charcoal and human settlements are the main threats.
Poaching was probably a major factor in the decline of chimpanzees and other mammals in the area as well.
Pusey, A., L. Pintea., M. Wilson., S. Kamenya., & J. Goodall. 2007. The Contribution of Long-Term Research at Gombe National Park to Chimpanzee Conservation. Conservation Biology 21 (3), 623–634.
Pintea, L. 2007. Applying satellite imagery and GIS for chimpanzee habitat change detection and conservation. Ph.D. thesis. University of Minnesota, St. Paul.