Abstract # 3:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 10:00 AM-10:15 AM: Session 2 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


E. Lonsdorf1, D. Travis2, I. Lipende3, T. Gillespie4, J. Raphael5, K. Terio6, C. Murray7, B. Hahn8 and A. Pusey9
1Franklin and Marshall College, Department of Psychology and Biological Foundations of Behavior, PO Box 3003, Lancaster, PA 17604, USA, 2College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 3Gombe Stream Research Centre, Kigoma, Tanzania, 4Program in Population Biology, Ecology, & Evolution and Departments of Environmental Sciences & Environmental Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 5Gombe National Park, Tanzanian National Park Authority, Tanzania, 6University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Program, Maywood, IL, 7Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, George Washington University, Washington, DC, 8University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 9Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC
     Disease and other health hazards pose serious threats to the persistence of wild ape populations. The total chimpanzee population at Gombe National Park, Tanzania has declined from perhaps 120-150 in the 1960’s to around 100 by the end of 2013, with death associated with observable signs of disease as the leading cause of mortality. In 2004, we began an observational health-monitoring program in the two habituated communities in the park to determine population prevalence of clinical signs of ill health. Health data is collected in a standardized format on known individuals during focal follows conducted by Tanzanian field staff. Categories of observable clinical signs of ill health captured include wounds, weight loss, diarrhea and respiratory indicators (e.g. coughing). For the central Kasekela community from 2004-2012, the percent of observed individuals showing ill health in these four categories annually were: wounds (1.20-6.47%), weight loss (0-3.57%), diarrhea (0.79-12.04%) and respiratory (0.19-4.89%). The corresponding numbers for the Mitumba community were: wounds (0.83-16.64%), weight loss (0-6.42%), diarrhea (0-10.43%) and respiratory (0-10.12%). Over the last decade, we have integrated diagnostic components, such as parasitology, virology, bacteriology, endocrinology and histopathology, making the Gombe chimpanzee population one of the best-studied in terms of both behavior and disease. Our work highlights the need for a large, collaborative team and long-term data to fully understand the impacts of disease on a wild ape population.