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Chimpanzees adapt their foraging behavior to avoid human contact

May 30, 2017

Research by PhD candidate Nicola Bryson-Morrison from the University of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC) suggests chimpanzees are aware of the risks of foraging too close to humans.

The findings could play a vital role in helping further understand how human activities and development affect chimpanzee behaviour and habitat use.

Nicola and her team conducted the research in Bossou, Guinea, West Africa between April 2012 and March 2013.

They carried out six-hour morning and afternoon follows of the crop-foraging chimpanzees over a full year to record their various behaviours in different habitat types across the landscape.

They found that the chimpanzees preferred mature primary forest for all behaviours and avoided foraging in non-cultivated habitats within 200m from cultivated fields, suggesting an awareness of the associated risks of being too close to locations where humans were likely to be present.

However, the chimpanzees did not avoid foraging close to unsurfaced roads or paths where vehicles or humans may be present.

The risks related to roads and paths may be less than cultivated fields where humans are more likely to behave antagonistically towards chimpanzees.
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The findings have been published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Primatology.

Nicola is studying at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) research centre within SAC, under the supervision of Dr. Tatyana Humle.For further information or interview requests contact Dan Worth at the University of Kent Press Office.

Tel: 01227 823581/01634 888879
Email: d.worth@kent.ac.uk

News releases can also be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

University of Kent on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UniKent

Note to editors

Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It has been ranked: 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017; and 25th in the Complete University Guide 2018.

In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, Kent is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities.

Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (http://www.kent.ac.uk/about/partnerships/eastern-arc.html).

The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.

In 2014, Kent received its second Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

University of Kent

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