Abstract # 62:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Tana River Yellow Baboons' (Papio cynocephalus) Diet and Habitat Use

V. K. Bentley-Condit
Grinnell College, Department of Anthropology, Grinnell, IA 50112, USA
     The Tana River National Primate Reserve yellow baboons are relatively under-reported, particularly their long-term habitat usage and food preferences. Here, I begin to address these issues via 22-months of data (JAN91-OCT92; 411 days; 2755 hourly scans) for the Mchelelo troop (n=75). I predicted the Mchelelo troop would spend more time overall on the proportionately larger savanna, show a seasonal preference for fruits/seeds switching to grasses/corms when necessary, and show preferences corresponding with rainfall patterns. While more time was spent on the savanna [t(41)=-2.34, p=0.024], no seasonal preference for fruit/seeds was found with high consumption of fruit/seeds throughout the period. A significantly higher proportion of each months’ observations reflected fruit/seeds rather than grass/corms consumption [t(34)=-3.82, p=0.001]. Regression analysis showed consumption of fruits/seeds predicted 66.7% of the variance in the consumption of grass/corms [R2=0.67] with a statistically significant linear relationship between the two variables [slope=-1.33, t-ratio=-6.46, p<0.001]. Forest species Phoenix reclinata and Hyphaene compressa together accounted for 40% of the observations. Finally, there was no statistical difference in pre- vs. post-rainy season fruit/seed consumption for the two rainy seasons represented [t(3)=-0.09, p=0.42; t(2)=-1.28, p=0.33]. An important implication of the Tana baboon forest use and fruit/seed consumption is their potential impact upon other species, e.g., the critically endangered Tana crested mangabey relies upon Phoenix reclinata and Hyphaene compressa combined for more than 30% of its annual diet.