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Title: Human-chimpanzee coexistence at Bossou, the Republic of Guinea : a chimpanzee perspective
Author: Hockings, Kimberley
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2007
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The increasing rate of human population growth has expanded the human-primate interface, with more conversion of natural primate habitat to agricultural land. Elevated levels of crop-raiding by primates are a by-product of natural resources becoming less available, and the nutritional riches of agricultural production becoming increasingly known to the primates. It was the aim of this thesis to focus on the Bossou chimpanzees’ (Pan troglodytes verus) perspective of their habitat in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, the risks and opportunities presented by a human-dominated landscape, and to detail their day-to-day coexistence with humans. I combined a variety of data collection techniques, from focal, scan and ad libitum behavioural sampling of the chimpanzees’ daily activities, to broad ecological and habitat surveys. The chimpanzees rely on cultivated foods, and thus are forced to respond to humans. However, significant variation in the importance of various cultivars in the chimpanzees’ diet exists; certain cultivars are mostly fallback foods, while others are preferred food items and taken according to their availability in orchards and fields. The usage patterns of wild and cultivated foods by the chimpanzees of Bossou are thus inextricably connected. Whilst engaged in crop-raiding the chimpanzees exhibit several behavioural adaptations, namely a decrease in vocalisation levels, and increases in the transportation of food and specific vigilance behaviour. Adult males and adult male-only parties crop-raid more than other age- and sex-classes/compositions, and are more likely to take risks by raiding in exposed environments with increased risk of human confrontation. The use of human cultivars also affects the socio-sexual behaviour of the chimpanzees: chimpanzees appear to share the fruits of their risky labours (crop-raiding) as a food-for-sex strategy, which allow adult males to advertise prowess and enhance affiliative relationships with reproductively valuable females (Hockings et al., in prep). In addition, behavioural adaptations to other anthropogenic high-risk situations such as road-crossing were found, with the chimpanzees exhibiting impressive levels of socio-spatial flexibility and cooperation (Hockings et al., 2006). The chimpanzees’ level of anxiety (as measured by rough self-directed scratching) increases when dealing with some of the challenges posed by their physical and social environment. The chimpanzees of Bossou have been forced to adapt ecologically and behaviourally to the various costs and benefits of living in a human-dominated environment.
Supervisor: Anderson, James Russell Sponsor: University of Stirling
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: chimpanzees ; crop-raiding ; Bossou ; human-dominated environment ; Chimpanzees Behavior Guinea ; Human-animal relationships ; Chimpanzees Effects of environment on