, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 557-564,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Mar 2010

A Legacy of Low-Impact Logging does not Elevate Prevalence of Potentially Pathogenic Protozoa in Free-Ranging Gorillas and Chimpanzees in the Republic of Congo: Logging and Parasitism in African Apes


Many studies have examined the long-term effects of selective logging on the abundance and diversity of free-ranging primates. Logging is known to reduce the abundance of some primate species through associated hunting and the loss of food trees for frugivores; however, the potential role of pathogens in such primate population declines is largely unexplored. Selective logging results in a suite of alterations in host ecology and forest structure that may alter pathogen dynamics in resident wildlife populations. In addition, environmental pollution with human fecal material may present a risk for wildlife infections with zoonotic protozoa, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. To better understand this interplay, we compared patterns of infection with these potentially pathogenic protozoa in sympatric western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in the undisturbed Goualougo Triangle of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and the adjacent previously logged Kabo Concession in northern Republic of Congo. No Cryptosporidium infections were detected in any of the apes examined and prevalence of infection with Giardia was low (3.73% overall) and did not differ between logged and undisturbed forest for chimpanzees or gorillas. These results provide a baseline for prevalence of these protozoa in forest-dwelling African apes and suggest that low-intensity logging may not result in long-term elevated prevalence of potentially pathogenic protozoa.