Abstract # 2995 Poster # 161:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 23 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


ECO-ETHOLOGY OF BONOBOS, PAN PANISCUS, IN WEST DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: WHY ARE SUCH DATA SO IMPORTANT FOR LONG-TERM CONSERVATION PROGRAMS?

A. Serckx1,2, M. Huynen1 and R. C. Beudels-Jamar2
1University of Liege, Behavioral Biology Unit, Primatology Group Research, Quai Van Beneden, 22, Liege, Belgium, 2Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Conservation Biology Unit
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The Bonobo is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is classified as Endangered by IUCN. Its survival depends exclusively on management measures taken by a country having to deal concomitantly with several problems affecting its development. The government’s intention to designate new protected areas will have to be complemented by effective long-term conservation programs taking into account both bonobos populations’ requirements and local socio-economic realities. Included in a WWF conservation program, our study focuses on recently discovered Bonobo populations in West RDC, an eccentric part of the species range. The study area is a forest-savannah mosaic, a habitat in which the Bonobo has hardly ever been studied in comparison with those inhabiting DRC’ central rainforests. The region is under increasing anthropogenic pressure, including cattle ranching and logging activities. Preliminary observations already indicate that these Western populations differ from other known populations in terms of habitat use, with regular crossing and exploitation of savannahs for fruits consumption. To shed further light on the species adaptation’s spectrum, our study investigates local population density, nesting sites choice, and diet composition. Here we present a baseline population density derived from 5 walks along transects using marked-nest count method, and we discuss factors inducing nesting sites choice. Ultimately, our results should allow for the formulation of specific management recommendations to be used in the regional conservation program.