Field research on group cooperation in road crossing and other social behavior among wild bonobos
Report: Shinya YAMAMOTO
Date: 2012/9/16 - 2012/11/29
For the sake of comparative study on chimpanzees and bonobos, I conducted field observational research on wild bonobos in Wamba forest, DR Congo, following my previous work in 2010 and 2011. I collected data mainly with a video camera on group cooperation in road crossing, food sharing, intergroup interaction, feeding techniques, coprophagy, and so on. The bonobos in Wamba is known to cross a road which separates their habitat into two parts, as seen in the chimpanzees in Bossou. I succeeded in recording more than 10 events of the bonobos' road crossing in sum in this and last year. Preliminary data analysis on the group composition, the order of individuals, vigilance and guarding behavior in crossing revealed some differences between the bonobos and the chimpanzees. Guarding behavior was observed more frequently in chimpanzees than in bonobos, and males primarily showed this cooperative behavior in the chimpanzees whereas females did in the bonobos. Further comparative analysis of the two species would be suggestive for their risk management in group and its evolution. After my field work in Wamba, I also visited Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary in DR Congo and Planckendael Zoo in Belgium in order to obtain and exchange the useful information on scientific research and care-taking of captive bonobos.