, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 9-22
Date: 13 Mar 2007

New Intercommunity Infanticides by the Chimpanzees of Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda

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Abstract

Hostile intercommunity relations, including attacking and killing extra-community infants of both sexes have occurred at most wild chimpanzee sites. We describe three recent cases of intercommunity attacks on infants committed by members of the Ngogo chimpanzee community in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Two of the attacks resulted in confirmed infanticides while a third attack probably resulted in the infant's death. In common with previous accounts of chimpanzee infanticides, the attacks described here occurred during boundary patrols outside the Ngogo community's usual range, adult and adolescent males were the main participants, one infant was cannibalized after being killed, and the victims’ mothers did not accompany the attacking party back to the Ngogo range. However, the patrol parties during each infanticide were larger than before and included females from the Ngogo community. Our observations indirectly support both the range expansion and imbalance of power hypotheses, which address why and under which conditions chimpanzee intercommunity encounters lead to aggression. These cases of intercommunity infanticide add to the growing database of the phenomenon in wild chimpanzees.