Abstract # 221:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2005 11:00 AM-11:30 AM: Session 16 (Crystal Ballroom) Oral Presentation


PROTECTING A SMALL FOREST FRAGMENT: CHIMPANZEE BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND HUMAN-ANIMAL CONFLICT IN UGANDA

J. Wallis1, D. Cole2 and T. Weldon2
1African Primates, Inc., 2901 Ginger Dr., Norman, OK 73026, USA, 2University of Central Oklahoma
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     The Budongo Forest of Uganda has suffered pressure from surrounding villages over the last several decades. Inadequate land management and expansion of a sugarcane plantation have left forest fragments scattered throughout the district. Several of these small forests contain chimpanzees that are effectively cut off from the main forest. The Kasokwa Forest Project was established to study the chimpanzees’ behavioral ecology and conservation potential. We also conducted conservation education activities in local villages. This community of chimpanzees (N = 14) exhibits behavioral patterns typical of the species, despite the very limited and unevenly distributed range. Predictably, the chimpanzees’ diet is supplemented by frequent visits to nearby crops, leading to inevitable human-chimpanzee conflict; in previous years, chimpanzees received snare injuries (N = 7) or died (N = 3) as a result of traps or fires associated with crops, and human children were wounded (N = 1) or killed (N = 1) by chimpanzees. However, perhaps as a result of our research/conservation presence, the community and habitat appear to be stabilized; the chimpanzee numbers are increasing and some areas of the forest boundary are regenerating. We are now expanding the education program and surveying other forest fragments in the area to verify the presence of additional chimpanzees. In time, we will develop reforestation plans and assess the feasibility of creating corridors between the forest patches. This project is partially funded by the American Society of Primatologists’ Conservation Fund.