14TOCONSBJ - 14 The Open Conservation Biology Journal,...

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Unformatted text preview: 14 The Open Conservation Biology Journal, 2009, 3, 14-23 1874-8392/09 2009 Bentham Open Open Access Bonobo Food Items, Food Availability and Bonobo Distribution in the Lake Tumba Swampy Forests, Democratic Republic of Congo Bila-Isia Inogwabini* ,1,2 and Bewa Matungila 2 1 Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, UK; 2 World Wide Fund for Nature, DRC Program Abstract: Data on food items were collected from the Lac Tumba Swampy Forests (LTSF) with the objective to gauge the effect of food type and availability on the distribution of the bonobos. Bonobos at the LTSF feed on at least 61 plant species and eat more Terrestrial Herbaceous Vegetation (THV) than at other sites (t = 0.676, df = 3, p = 0.548 > 0.05; in- significant). Fruits were available for most of the year at sites within the LTSF. At the Mbou-Mon-Tour (MMT), a site with higher bonobo density, the mean density of 1.42 fruits/m 2 per month (range 0.62 3.82 fruits/m 2 per month) was re- corded, higher than in other sites where bonobos occur (general univariate linear model = 0.422, t = 1.543, df = 11, p = 0.151, non-significant). In-site differences between MMT and other sub-sites in the LTSF were significant (t = 2.793, df = 12, p = 0.016 < 0.05). Fruit abundance in the LTSF ( X =138 fruits/km, SD = 13.80) was higher than in the Salonga Na- tional Park (SNP) ( X =83 fruits/km, SD = 6.49). There were five species of THV in the LTSF, with the most abundant being Megaphrynium macrostachyum (41.18%), which was scarce in the Lomako Forests. Comparisons between sites in- dicated that sites in SNP consistently had lower stem densities than sites in LTSF (t = -7.528, df = 3, p =0.005, signifi- cant). These results, in agreement with previous studies, concluded that the distribution of THV in different sites signifi- cantly determined the bonobo distribution. INTRODUCTION Feeding is the most important life requirement for living organisms and particularly for large mammals. Food type and availability affect group size in large mammals, as well as sociability [1, 2] and group dynamics in primates [3]. They can even affect physical morphology, as in primates where food type has been documented to influence the size and morphology of mastication muscles [4, 5], which are adapted to processing specialized items. The role that food types, food quantities and food availability play is so impor- tant in mammals that it may have played a key role in the evolution of humans [4]. In many ecological studies of wild large mammals, food availability has been proposed as one of the most important factors influencing wildlife species distribution, and is seen as vital for the great apes [6-10]. In bonobos, the food social paradigm suggests that access to food and its possession may explain the dominant role of mature females in their social organization [11]. It has been also suggested that food availability, particularly the distri- bution of the Marantaceae correlated with the distribution of...
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2011 for the course ANT ANT 154A taught by Professor Lynne during the Spring '11 term at UC Davis.

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14TOCONSBJ - 14 The Open Conservation Biology Journal,...

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