An of assessment of chimpanzee-human interaction around Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda
Rwanda Development Board
Fields of Interest:
Endangered species conservation, Primate ecology and conservation, Conservation Biology, Conservation Ecology, Climate Change, Biodiversity, Habitat Restoration
This study investigates the interaction between chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) and humans in and around Nyungwe Forest National Park (NNP), Rwanda, and the social, economic, and biotic consequences of this interaction. The focus is specifically on crop raiding and the factors that may increase crop raiding severity, such as seasonality, buffer zone type and width between the forest and village, crops grown, distance of farm from forested area and buffer zone, and vigilance. These factors were measured using surveys of subsistence farmers outside the park, fifteen years of chimpanzee ranging data, and park and buffer zone maps. This study also explores the difference in gut parasite load between the two chimpanzee groups that reside in this forest, and aims to understand the effects of crop raiding on chimpanzee health. Data shows that certain factors, such as buffer zone type, seasonality, and distance from forested area are statistical predictors of high crop raiding incidence by chimpanzees. In addition, fecal parasite analysis, showed that the group exiting the park to raid more frequently had lower incidence of internal gut parasites.