The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Tangible or intangible frontiers: qualifying interactions between humans and chimpanzees in fragmented landscapes


1UMR Ladyss, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, 2UMR 7206 Eco-anthropologie et ethnobiologie, Museum national d'histoire naturelle, 3PPF Pôle image, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, 4PRES, Sorbonne Paris Cité - Université Paris Diderot

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Sebitoli, North of Kibale National Park (Uganda) experiences one of the highest chimpanzee density known in the world while many human activities occur along the park border. Villagers enter the park for illegal activities (poaching, charcoal burning) and primates are raiding crops outside the forest. Even if the frontier between anthropogenic and natural areas is geographically and legally clearly defined, nature and intensity of the relationships between chimpanzees and humans remain vague.

We suggest that, in the context of primates living in human modified habitats, resource uses might dictate interactions between the two species over time, emphasizing avoidance of direct contacts.

We classified Sebitoli landscape using satellite images. Combining observation datasheets and GPS coordinates, we created a georeferenced database on chimpanzee repartition. To evaluate food diversity and availability, we censused seventy plots located inside and outside the park. We conducted interviews in local communities to understand uses and practices of people living around.

Analyses show that chimpanzees do not avoid forest edges and occupy more frequently high relief areas or lower sites by river banks. We counted 26155 stems of 348 species, of which 81 items have been so far observed to be consumed by chimpanzees. We assess that interactions between humans and chimpanzees are tempered by filters (food resources, risks) and we determine their dynamics and intensities in humans-chimpanzees interactions.

Using various methods of different disciplines, this study is an overview of social, spatial and environmental factors influencing chimpanzees repartition in a conservation area facing demographic pressure.

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