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A preliminary report of the feeding ecology of chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Uganda: fecal analysis and habitat use.

Yasuko Tashiro , Kyoto University,Takeshi Furuichi, Meiji-Gakuin University, Chie Hashimoto

     Fecal samples of chimpanzees were analyzed to reveal the feeding ecology of chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest. Proportion by volume of fruit seeds was 83% and all samples contained such seeds. Thus chimpanzees of the Kalinzu Forest were found to be highly frugivorous as reported for chimpanzees elsewhere in Africa. Ant fragments were found in feces almost every month, and from 9% of total fecal samples analyzed. Evidence of meat eating was found. Bones and fur appeared in 2% of the samples. The location and vegetation type where fecal samples were collected was recorded. This was done to help access habitat utilization patterns among the four vegetation zones (Musanga dominant secondary, Parinari dominant secondary, Parinari dominant mature, mixed mature). Fig seeds were found in 57% of the samples, indicating that fig fruits are an important resource for these chimpanzees. Samples containing fig seeds were found in all vegetation types suggesting that figs are widely dispersed throughout their habitat. It is expected that Musanga leo-errerae plays an important role in maintaining a high density of chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest. Chimpanzees fed on large amounts of a fewer number of fruit species in the secondary forest and fed on smaller amounts of more fruit species in the primary forest. In the primary forest, it is likely that utilization of these many fruit species is dependent on their availability. Fecal analysis can provide quantitative data on the feeding ecology of chimpanzees at the early stages of a study when direct observations are difficult. We found a tendency for the seeds of fruit species found in the feces to match the vegetation types where they were deposited by chimpanzees, suggesting that perhaps over the short term Kalinzu chimpanzees utilized the same vegetation types over consecutive days. Analysis of feces content and vegetation type where they are found is a promising methodology to collect preliminary data about habitat use by chimpanzees.

Diversity in forest types and habitat use by chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest, Uganda
Chie Hashimoto, Takeshi Furuichi and Yasuko Tashiro, Primate research, in print.