Population Dynamics of Wild Bonobos (Pan paniscus) at Wamba
Takeshi FURUICHI, Gen'ichi IDANI, Hiroshi IHOBE, Suehisa KURODA, Koji KITAMURA, Akio MORI, Tomoo ENOMOTO, Naobi OKAYASU, Chie HASHIMOTO and Takayoshi KANO
We analyzed population dynamics and birth seasonality of wild bonobos at Wamba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, based on 20 years of observations (1976-1996). Wamba Bonobo infant mortality, is much lower than that reported for chimpanzees. This seems to be related to several socioecological characteristics of bonobos: the use of abundant fruit and herbaceous foods, larger food patch size, female feeding priority, and the absence of infanticide. The mean interval between live births of 4.8 years is shorter than those reported for chimpanzees, and some females simultaneously carried and nursed two successive offspring. Mother-offspring conflicts, such as refusal of suckling attempts and interference with mothers' copulation, which are common in chimpanzees, are rare in Wamba bonobos. A birth peak seems to occur during the light rainy season from March to May, just after the season with the least rainfall. This timing of births is similar to those reported for chimpanzee populations, and might benefit both mother and offspring by maximizing the amount of time before the next dry season.
KEY WORDS: Pan paniscus; bonobo; demography; interbirth interval.
International Journal of Primatology, 19: 1029-1043 (1998)
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