Between forest and croplands: Nocturnal behavior in wild chimpanzees of Sebitoli, Kibale National Park, Uganda - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2022

Between forest and croplands: Nocturnal behavior in wild chimpanzees of Sebitoli, Kibale National Park, Uganda

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Abstract

Some animal species have been presumed to be purely diurnal. Yet, they show flexibility in their activity rhythm, and can occasionally be active at night. Recently, it has been suggested that chimpanzees may rarely engage in nocturnal activities in savannah forests, in contrast to the frequent nocturnal feeding of crops observed at Sebitoli, Kibale National Park, Uganda. Here we thus aimed to explore the factors that might trigger such intense nocturnal activity (e.g. harsher weather conditions during daytime, low wild food availability or higher diurnal foraging risk) in this area. We used camera-traps set over 18 km 2 operating for 15 months. We report activities and group composition from records obtained either within the forest or at the forest interface with maize fields, the unique crop consumed. Maize is an attractive and accessible food source, although actively guarded by farmers, particularly during daytime. Out of the 19 156 clips collected, 1808 recorded chimpanzees. Of these, night recordings accounted for 3.3% of forest location clips, compared to 41.8% in the maize fields. Most nocturnal clips were obtained after hot days, and most often during maize season for field clips. At night within the forest, chimpanzees were travelling around twilight hours, while when at the border of the fields they were foraging on crops mostly after twilight and in smaller parties. These results suggest that chimpanzees change their activity rhythm to access cultivated resources when human presence and surveillance is lower. This survey provides evidence of behavioral plasticity in chimpanzees in response to neighboring human farming activities, and emphasizes the urgent need to work with local communities to mitigate human-wildlife conflict related to crop-feeding.

Dates and versions

mnhn-03903262 , version 1 (16-12-2022)

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Cite

Camille Lacroux, Benjamin Robira, Nicole Kane-Maguire, Nelson Guma, Sabrina Krief. Between forest and croplands: Nocturnal behavior in wild chimpanzees of Sebitoli, Kibale National Park, Uganda. PLoS ONE, 2022, 17 (5), pp.e0268132. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0268132⟩. ⟨mnhn-03903262⟩
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