Abstract # 38:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 03:30 PM-03:45 PM: Session 6 (San Geronimo Ballroom B) Oral Presentation


CO-EXISTING IN THE CONGO: THE IMPACT OF BONOBO CROP-RAIDING ON SUBSISTENCE FARMERS IN KOKOLOPORI

A. V. Georgiev1,2, V. Lokasola3, M. Emery Thompson4, A. Lokasola3 and R. W. Wrangham2
1The University of Chicago, Institute of Mind and Biology, 940 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637, USA, 2Harvard University, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, 3Vie Sauvage, 4University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology
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     Crop-raiding by primates poses challenges to subsistence farmers and to conservation efforts. We studied bonobo (Pan paniscus) feeding ecology and crop-raiding at Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo to assess the level of human-wildlife conflict. Behavioral observations of bonobos (1,639 hrs) were used to establish the nutritional context of crop-raiding. House-hold interviews (N=30) helped assess the impact of crop-raiding as perceived by Bongando people whose villages and fields lie amidst the home ranges of several bonobo communities. During a 9-month period (N=167 observation days) bonobos were seen to crop-raid only on 4.2% of days and they targeted foods that were trivial to the daily subsistence needs of the Bongando (sugar-cane, pineapple and bananas). Previously reported research on the same bonobo community indicated that the month with highest incidence of crop-raiding events was characterized by low wild fruit availability, low energy balance (bonobo urinary C-peptide) and high physiological stress (bonobo urinary cortisol). Thus, while crop-raiding by bonobos at Kokolopori was relatively infrequent and did not affect major human crops, it was nutritionally important to the apes when wild fruit were scarce. Emphasizing the fact that bonobos raid crops only at times of ‘need’ may bolster local support for conservation in Kokolopori. Supported by Harvard University and the Bonobo Conservation Initiative.