Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) space use patterns in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda (#405)

Jennifer F Moore 1 , Protais Niyigaba 2 , Innocent Ndikubwimana 3 , Michel K Masozera 2 , Madan K Oli 1
  1. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America
  2. Wildlife Conservation Society - Rwanda Program, Kigali, Rwanda
  3. Rwanda Development Board - Nyungwe National Park, Kitabi, Rwanda

Populations of the endangered eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) are declining throughout their range. Although Nyungwe National Park (NNP), Rwanda, harbors the largest remaining eastern chimpanzee population in the country, we know little about their movement or space use patterns. We studied these patterns for three troops of chimpanzees, Mayebe, Gisovu, and Cyamudongo, in Nyungwe using daily tracking data (6:00 am to 6:00 pm) collected from 2000-2016, as well as factors that potentially influence these patterns. Chimpanzee troop home range calculated using the 95% minimum convex polygon (MCP) method was 25 km2 for the Mayebe group, 11 km2 for the Gisovu group, and 5 km2 for the Cyamudongo group. Our estimate of home range size for the Cyamudongo group (which occupies a 4 km2 forest fragment) is the smallest recorded for this species, and also suggests that forest fragmentation can substantially alter the chimpanzee space use patterns. Chimpanzee home range sizes were smaller during the dry season compared to the wet season. Data on home range size and space use will be presented in relation to average group size, elevation, habitat type, and distance to park boundary. Our study provides the first comparison estimates of home range size and factors affecting space use patterns for the three groups of chimpanzees in Rwanda. The information generated in this study can be used to improve efficacy of ranger patrols to reduce accidental snaring of this species, which is a threat to their continued presence in this forest.