Ranging behavior of Mahale chimpanzees : a 16 year study

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We have analyzed the ranging patterns of the Mimikire group (M group) of chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. During 16years, the chimpanzees moved over a total area of 25.2 or 27.4km(2), as estimated by the grid-cell or minimum convex polygon (MCP) methods, respectively. Annually, the M group used an average of 18.4km(2), or approximately 70%, of the total home-range area. The chimpanzees had used 80% of their total home range after 5years and 95% after 11years. M group chimpanzees were observed more than half of the time in areas that composed only 15% of their total home range. Thus, they typically moved over limited areas, visiting other parts of their range only occasionally. On average, the chimpanzees used 7.6km(2) (in MCP) per month. Mean monthly range size was smallest at the end of the rainy season and largest at the end of the dry season, but there was much variability from year to year. The chimpanzees used many of the same areas every year when Saba comorensis fruits were abundant between August and January. In contrast, the chimpanzees used several different areas of their range in June. Here range overlap between years was relatively small. Over the 16years of the study we found that the M group reduced their use of the northern part of their range and increased their frequency of visits to the eastern mountainous side of their home range. Changes in home-range size correlated positively with the number of adult females but not with the number of adult males. This finding does not support a prediction of the male-defended territory model proposed for some East African chimpanzee unit-groups.


  • Primates

    Primates 54(2), 171-182, 2013-04-01

    Springer Japan

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