TOKYO – Wild chimpanzees capable of passing on their knowledge of how to detect and destroy traps have been found in areas around a village called Bossou in Guinea, Africa, according to Gaku Ohashi, a researcher at Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute.

Ohashi, 29, surveyed a group of more than 10 chimps in the area over 15 months between 2002 and 2004 after learning that 30 years of research there discovered no chimps in the area had ever been seriously injured by traps.

In one case, when a trap made with sticks and wires used to catch large rats was found, two male chimps of the group would avoid the trap, vigorously shake it and try to destroy it, Ohashi said.

Three other male chimps also tried to shake the trap, according to Ohashi.

Tetsuro Matsuzawa, a professor at the Primate Research Institute, said chimps in Bossou are highly intelligent, allowing them to use many tools, including stones for opening nuts.

“They probably also have the ability to spot danger,” he said.

Chimpanzees injured by traps have become a serious problem in Africa in recent years. In 2002, a long -term study of chimps found 32 of 422 chimpanzees in 10 areas had been injured by traps.


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