- Reactions of Bili-Uele chimpanzees to humans in relation to their distance from roads and villages
- American Journal of Primatology
- Volume | Issue number
- 74 | 8
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
In order to assess the impact of human activities on chimpanzee behavior, we compared reactions to humans of Eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) living in proximity to and at a distance from roads and settlements in the Bili-Uele landscape in Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We found that chimpanzees in the remote Gangu Forest were more likely to show curious or neutral reactions to us and were less likely to flee than those living closer to roads. In addition, arboreal contact durations with Gangu chimpanzees lasted significantly longer than elsewhere. The most likely explanation for this phenomenon is that with increasing distance from roads, chimpanzees have in the recent past had fewer negative encounters with humans, and thus never learned to fear them. The discovery of this population of naive chimpanzees presents us with an important research and conservation opportunity that may result in the installation of a long-term research site and increased protection of the population.
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