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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Preliminary bonobo and chimpanzee nesting by habitat type in the northern Lac Tumba Landscape, Democratic Republic of Congo

Bila-Isia Inogwabini, Mbenzo Abokome, Tokate Kamenge, Longwango Mbende, Lomboto Mboka


Knowing how habitat determines the distribution of great apes is essential for understanding their ecology and conservation requirements. Habitats in the northern Lac Tumba Landscape where this study was conducted are mostly swamp and flooded forests, which types have been overlooked in many great ape surveys. This study describes and discusses patterns of bonobo and chimpanzee nesting sites across these habitat types in the general scope of habitat use by great apes. Considerable efforts were deployed to survey forests of the Ngiri Triangle (186 km), Bomongo-Lubengo (126 km) and Bolombo-Losombo (112 km). Great ape nesting site encounter rates (r) were calculated for Bonobos (r = 0.21 nesting sites km-1; Bolombo-Losombo), chimpanzees (r = 0.11 nesting sites km-1; Ngiri Triangle) and (r = 0.02 nesting sites km-1; Bomongo-Lubengo). Swamps and flooded forests dominated the three zones. Nesting sites were at the highest encounter rates in flooded forests; both great ape species were significantly associated with swampy and flood forests. Human signs did not influence the occurrence of nesting sites in these forests. These results confirm findings from other sites where great apes were observed using swamps; they suggest that future surveys include these types of habitat to avoid under-estimating population sizes.


bonobo; chimpanzee; flooded forests; habitat use; swampy forests

Published in

African Journal of Ecology
2012, Volume: 50, number: 3, pages: 285-298

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