Observations on the Meat-eating Behavior of Wild Bonobos (Pan paniscus) at Wamba, Republic of Zaire

Hiroshi IHOBE


Meat-eating behavior of wild bonobos (Pan paniscus) was witnessed on two occasions at Wamba, Republic of Zaire. Only flying squirrels were observed to be eaten by the bonobos. Several bonobos gathered around the possessor of the meat and showed interest in the meat on all occasions. Begging behavior was noted on one of the two occasions, but the possessor of the meat ignored it. No sharing of meat was seen on either occasion. The exclusive targets of hunting by bonobos are apparently small mammals, such as flying squirrels and infant duikers, since evidence of meat eating by wild bonobos, which have been studied for more than fifteen years, has been restricted to these mammals. The bonobos at Wamba may have a specialized "prey image", as in the case of the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) of the Tai forest, and certain medium-sized or small mammals may not conform to this image.

Key Words: Pan paniscus; Meat eating; Hunting; Begging; Wamba.

Primates, 33: 247-250 (1992)

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