Ebele and Mirembe

Wild Chimp Grooming


37 and 15

Grooming is an incredibly important part of chimp life. Not only is it important to stay clean and tidy, but it’s also a fantastic way to strengthen bonds, build alliances, and relax. Chimps can spend a few minutes and even up to a few hours grooming each other, maintaining friendly ties between the community.

To groom, a chimp will remove all dirt, plants, dry skin, and insects from another. In a way, it is a bit like getting a massage or taking a nice bath and is a very relaxing process for the chimp being pampered. Using one hand to part the hair, the chimp will use its other hand and occasionally teeth to remove the unwanted materials.

Grooming is also used to calm a chimp down when it becomes stressed. Infants are groomed during weaning; adults can be groomed to make up after a conflict. Smaller males who could never rely on physical attacks use grooming to build alliances in the community to protect themselves from larger males.

​Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while studying, the public will be able to meet individual animals. This will help them to realise that there are apes with unique personalities, thoughts and emotions. The loss of one individual is just as devastating as losing an individual human.

With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save the great apes.

​The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #ChimpsAreFamily to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.

To help protect the great apes you can adopt a chimp and help them via the WWF: