A War Between Animals That Lasted Four Years

In this war conflict, behavior similar to human evil can be seen: killing other congeners to conquer territory and gain power.
A war between animals that lasted four years

Although it sounds like science fiction, a war between animals is possible and occurs continuously. Some species that form groups and defend territories have fought battles over the years.  One of the most remarkable was a war between animals that lasted four years.

Chimpanzees: capable of the worst and the best

The protagonists of this war between animals are chimpanzees, perhaps one of the best known primates.

They appear in movies, laboratory research, circuses and other shows – obviously suffering a lot at the hands of human beings.

The famous primatologist Jane Goodall has observed this species for over four decades.

She realized that  chimpanzees are able to use tools, mourn the death of loved ones, and understand abstract concepts such as a sense of justice.

But she also found that  chimpanzees could match the worst human criminals.

To come to power, they even commit infanticide and murder. In addition, they can also “declare war” on other animals.

Certainly, the behavior of chimpanzees resembles those of other species. Human beings are capable of high doses of altruism, but also great cruelty.

Preamble to a war between animals

In January 1974, a four-year primate war broke out.

Jane Goodall called it the “War of Gombe”  in some of her books, referring to Tanzania’s national park, where she studied these primates.

animal war: monkeys fighting

After more than a decade of studying, Jane began to observe how the chimpanzee community she had been studying for 10 years began to divide. At that time, Mike reigned, an alpha male chimpanzee.

However, in Mike’s reign something began to change. Of the 14 adult males, six started spending more time away from the group.

This new group began to occupy territory south of the rest of the clan, and among its members they singled out two young males known as Hugh and Charlie.

Males from both groups began to avoid each other and patrol their new divided territories, an anticipation of what would be a war between animals.

Beginning of war between animals

Two years passed and Jane herself began to document how a group had split into two communities, but she didn’t know what was about to happen.

Meetings between the two groups began to get tense: vocalizations and so-called  “displays” (displays of strength) increased. These are ways to release tension without actually fighting.

The battle itself began one afternoon in 1974, when a group of  primates decided to head south and meet Godi, a male from the Northern group.

With discretion, the members of the South group went to Godi and immobilized him, as they had others.

From this, he could no longer defend himself and was beaten for 10 minutes.

After leaving him practically immobile, due to his severe injuries, and although he no longer posed any threat, one of the males nicknamed Rodolf took a large stone and ended Godi’s life with a final blow.


The result of war between animals

This first murder would lead to an authentic civil war that would last four years. Little by little,  the southern community of chimpanzees, nicknamed Kasakela, would kill the males of the northern or Kahama community one by one ; they even kidnapped three Kahama females.

This authentic war between animals would kill every member of the Kahama community. Thus, the males of Kasakela took over the former territory of this clan of chimpanzees.

Without a doubt, we are facing an example that these primates are not only similar to human beings in their ability to do good.

They also kill other members of their species to gain power.

There are other unusual behaviors described by Goodall, such as cannibalism, hunting and  tool use.

But the truth is that  the war between animals that took place in Gombe is a remarkable historical fact in the universe of wild behavior research.

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