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Kerchak was the evil chief of the Mangani a tribe of anthropoid apes native to the jungles of Africa. He appears in the first book in the Tarzan series, Tarzan of the Apes.


English nobleman John Clayton, also known as Lord Greystroke, and his wife, Alice, were shipwrecked somewhere in Africa close to the jungle which Kerchak's tribe lived in. John and Alice were being watched by the people of Kerchak's tribe who were suspicious of them. John was attacked by an ape from Kerchak's tribe but he killed it with his revolver, in self defense. After this, more and more apes attacked John but he kept killing them off. Kerchak went into a fit of rage and killed Kala's daughter who was only an infant. Kerchak then attacked John when he was in his log cabin, mourning over Alice since she had died giving birth to a son. Many other apes helped Kerchak attack John and since John was unarmed, he was killed. Kala took John's infant son and raised him as her own child, she named him "Tarzan" which meant "white skin" in the language of the apes.

As Tarzan grew up he became a skilled hunter and warrior, Kerchak became jealous of him. When Tarzan was eighteen he killed the lioness Sabor and this made Kerchak even more jealous of Tarzan because Sabor had been Kerchak's enemy longer than she had been Tarzan's enemy and Kerchak had wanted to kill Sabor for years. Frustrated by what Tarzan had done, Kerchak fought Tarzan but Tarzan defeated him and killed him with his hunting knife. Since Kerchak was dead, Tarzan was declared the new leader of the Mangani and replaced Kerchak as the chief.