For over 20 years, camera crews have been capturing the movements of the world’s most powerful troop of chimpanzees.
Living in Ngogo, Uganda, the so-called ‘warrior apes’ are the largest troop of chimpanzees in the world – three times larger than anything ever seen in the wild before.
Through their rein of terror they have gained control of huge amounts of land, striking fear into the hearts of all animals that cross them.
Filmmakers have been tracking the four dominant males who lead the group from adolescence through their journey to adulthood – documenting their brutal rise to total dominance.
When the apes were first examined, experts thought that they were hunting other monkeys because of a lack of food.
But, as anthropologist John Mitani explains, the truth was far more sinister.
He says, ‘why do they hunt? One old idea is that they hunt when they’re hungry and there isn’t a lot of fruit around. But as things turn out, it’s exactly the opposite.’
Anthropologist David Watts, who once witnessed one of the chimpanzees launch a brutal attack on a smaller monkey, explains:
‘The monkey gets out on a small branch, and he’s momentarily trying to work out what to do. Another chimpanzee comes from an adjacent tree, jumps on the other end of the branch, runs at the other monkey from behind and grabs him.’
‘I was standing maybe 15ft from them watching this. Three male chimpanzees each took an arm or a leg and they literally started drawing and quartering this monkey.’
Savage scenes such as there prove that these chimps will stop at nothing to keep their territory and gain more.
It is hoped that this extensive footage, which has been turned into series Rise of the Warrior Apes for Discovery, will help to give researchers an excellent insight into animal behaviour and even human evolution.
Anthropologist Kevin Potts says, ‘the fact that these killers can also be very peaceful, very tranquil, very cooperative, I think it just shows how complex these animals are and really how similar they are to humans.’
Watch the video above to see this brutal troop in action and don’t forget to catch Rise of The Warrior Apes on Discovery.