Chimps of the Lost Gorge

Image for Chimps of the Lost GorgeNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Natural World, 2010-2011 Episode 11 of 14

Duration: 58 minutes

A real-life drama about a family of chimps trapped in a lost world. They live in a deep and ancient forested gorge that runs though the African savannah and for fifteen years it has been cut off from the rest of the jungle, leaving the chimps imprisoned.

Here, they face a daily life-or-death dilemma: whether to leave the safety of the gorge and venture into the predator-ridden savannah to find food, or face hunger. There's now only twenty of them left and as Brutus the alpha male loses his grip, can the family hold it together or is time running out for the Kyambura chimps?



    Explore the world of chimpanzees with video from the BBC archive

  • Brutus, leader of the Gorge Chimps

    Brutus, leader of the Gorge Chimps

    Brutus is the leader of the chimpanzees trapped in the Kyambura Gorge, Uganda. He faces the daily struggle of surviving in the gorge as well as having to contend with unruly teenagers and takeover bids from other males. His main rival Hitari is a young and powerful male, but they must put their differences aside if they are to survive in the gorge.

    See Brutus in action
  • The Kyambura Gorge

    The Kyambura Gorge

    For the chimps, this gorge is their refuge as well as their prison. Surrounded by savannah on either side and a marsh and human settlement at each end, there is little chance of escape. Heading through the banana plantations would lead to certain conflict with humans, but to escape across the savannah they must risk encounters with predators such as lions and leopards.

    What other animals live on the savannah?
  • Colobus monkey leaps to safety

    Colobus monkey leaps to safety

    Although they do not need meat in their diets, the chimps often hunt when there is plentiful food in the gorge and they have the energy to do so. Catching the monkeys requires teamwork as the Colobus are extremely nimble and the adults can give a nasty bite. This colobus adult is leaping between trees to evade the advancing chimps, but others are not so lucky

    See the chimps on a hunt
  • Baby chimp peaks through the canopy

    Baby chimp peaks through the canopy

    In a twist of fate, the last babies born into the gorge family have all been males. There is now a big skew in the population with many more males to females. The family desperately needs more girls to be born and with two of the adults ready conceive, the hopes are high for new female arrivals.


Verity White
Series Producer
Steve Greenwood
Series Editor
Tim Martin


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