|Primate Habituation Project, Dzanga-Sangha Projecto|
|Factors Affecting Habitat Use in Western Gorillas at Bai Hokou, Central African Republic|
|Location: Bai Hohou, Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic|
|Species: Western Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)|
|Abstract: This project aims to describe patterns in habitat use of Western gorilla, as little is known about this species' movements and inter-group competition in the wild. Inter-unit competition will be examined through a comparison of the ranging and dietary patterns of two adjacent Western gorilla groups of contrasting size. This data will assist in the formulation of a predictive model of habitat use strategies that can be tested in other areas and compared to mountain gorillas.|
Gorilla group dynamics
This year has seen quite some progress in both the habituation of the gorillas and in the study of factors affecting habitat use in western gorillas. Visits to the Munye group have continued to be enjoyed by tourists and the second group, Makumba, have advanced considerably in their habituation. There were home range shifts exhibited by both groups, and a loss of the Munye group's sole female as she joined another group.
Individuality and Comparative Health
This year has seen the tragic demise of the entire study population of gorillas at Lossi, Republic of Congo to Ebola. Apart from Bai Hokou and Mondika (solely research), both in Central African Republic, these were the only other habituated groups of western gorillas. This ecological catastrophe emphasises the need for caution on finding dead animals, especially primates. During this year we have seen one sick silverback that ranged around camp for about a week before dying adjacent to the clearing next to camp. Another putrefying body of a silverback was found during a contact with Makumba. As a consequence of these observations and the situation in nearby Republic of Congo, Chloe Cipolletta and David Greer, the co-directors of the Primate Habituation Programme, organised a meeting with local villagers to increase their awareness on the risks of Ebola transmission, additionally dissuading them from illegal hunting of endangered primates.