Abstract # 4235 Poster # 40:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


NEST CHOICE BY CHIMPANZEES IN A FRAGMENTED HABITAT, UGANDA: PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

M. S. McCarthy and C. B. Stanford
University of Southern California, Department of Biological Sciences, AHF 107, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90004, USA
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     We recorded nest height, location, and species for unhabituated chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in a fragmented forest habitat in western Uganda from September through December 2011. We observed 177 nests of various ages. These nests comprised over 45 plant species, indicating nest tree species diversity similar to or greater than that for chimpanzees in less degraded forests. Chimpanzees in nearby Ugandan forests also nest in some of these species, including Khaya anthotheca and Ficus spp. Nests were also constructed from non-traditional species such as cocoa (Theobroma cacao), guava (Psidium guajava), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.), and sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), however. Nineteen nests were constructed in eucalyptus, making it the most frequently observed nesting tree species. Overall median nest height was lower than averages reported for chimpanzees elsewhere, measuring 6.5 m. In addition, at least seven nests were constructed on the ground, and these appeared to be night nests based on complex, sturdy construction and proximity to sturdier tree nests. Factors influencing nest choice may include proximity of resources, canopy cover, human disturbance, wind protection, and insect repellence. Nest tree choice may also be influenced by the paucity of available trees in this degraded habitat, though preliminary observations suggest non-native species are sometimes preferred even in the presence of traditional nesting species. Additional data will help resolve the factors influencing nest choice for these chimpanzees.