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A team of anthropologists from the University of Kent and universities in Spain, in collaboration with the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, made their discoveries from hidden cameras during an eight-month study in the African country.
Although chimpanzees living in fragmented habitats cross roads to move from one area to another of their home range and may approach human settlements, any further road widening, tarmacking or expansion and urbanisation could significantly affect their distribution and abundance.
Research - Team - Care - Infrastructure - Development
Consequently, the research team suggests care with infrastructure development, as well as developing agreements with farmers to allow strategic fallow areas to regenerate into community-managed forest refuges providing corridors for wildlife and vital natural resources and ecosystem services for both humans and wildlife.
The research found that chimpanzees do not avoid areas frequented by people, possibly due to human tolerance and low levels of hunting in the study area -- but they did not visit areas humans use at midday when human activity was more prevalent.
Settlements - Farmers - Fruits - Risks - Encounter
Around settlements, farmers grow fruits that attract chimpanzees despite the risks of encounter with people. The cameras captured images of chimpanzees eating domesticated fruits like mangos and pineapples that were cultivated close to human settlements.
The research team used 24 infra-red digital camera traps deployed between 2015 and 2016 for a total of 8 months across 27 1.25x1.25 km grids in the Moyamba district in south-western Sierra Leone.
University - Kent - Expert - Behaviour - Research
University of Kent expert in primate behaviour and one of the research team Dr Tatyana Humle said: 'If we want to secure their long-term survival,...
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