Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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The influence of forest savanna ecotone on chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) socioecology in Mbam and Djerem National Park in Cameroon
Kamgang Serge Alexis

Last modified: 2016-09-23


Cameroon is considered to be one of the most diverse countries in central Africa, with a network of protected areas covering 20% of its national territory, within which is the Mbam and Djerem National Park (MDNP). MDNP is located in the forest-savanna ecotone area in central Cameroon, and covers an area of about 416, 512 hectares. It shelters the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti), the most endangered and poorly known of all currently recognized chimpanzee subspecies, with a total remaining population between 3,500 and 9,000 living in forested habitat north of the Sanaga River in Cameroon and the eastern edge of Nigeria. MDNP is considered a top priority zone for the conservation of this species by IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Given the wide range of its habitat, understanding the effect of habitat variation on the density of P. t. ellioti, the only species of great apes found in MDNP, can provide important information about ecological adaptation and evolution. Close to 29,000 people inhabit the periphery of MDNP and depend on the park resources for their subsistence, emphasizing the need to include information on human-chimp interaction in our model of the density and occupancy of chimpanzee populations in MDNP. To obtain this information, we interviewed human populations around MDNP. Our surveys of chimpanzees were based on the Standing Crop Nest Counts from line transects. Cybertraker (database) and a combination of the software packages R, Distance 7.0 (survey design), Quantum GIS, Essen, and Presence were used for data gathering and analysis. We have developed a typology of human-chimpanzee interactions (conflicts and cultural interactions), and have estimated the density of chimpanzee in their suitable habitat (feeding, nesting and degree of anthropogenic threats). We are currently testing the effect of different covariates (forest, savanna, threats) in order to provide a basis to predict the viability of chimpanzee populations in the study area.