, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 143-167

Territory Characteristics among Three Neighboring Chimpanzee Communities in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire

Abstract

We studied territory characteristics among three neighboring chimpanzee communities in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, and compared them with other chimpanzee populations. We characterized territories and ranging patterns by analyzing six variables:, (1) territory size, (2) overlap zone, (3) territory utilization, (4) core area, (5) territory shift, and (6) travel distance. Data collection covered a period of 10 mo, during which we simultaneously sampled the local positions of mostly large parties, including males in each community, in 30-min intervals. In Taï, chimpanzees used territories in a clumped way, with small central core areas being used preferentially over large peripheral areas. Although overlap zones between study communities mainly represented infrequently visited peripheral areas, overlap zones with all neighboring communities also included intensively used central areas. Territory utilization was not strongly seasonal, with no major shift of activity center or shift of areas used over consecutive months. However, we observed shorter daily travel distances in times of low food availability. Territory sizes of Taï chimpanzees tended to be larger than territories in other chimpanzee communities, presumably because high food availability allows for economical defense of territorial borders and time investment in territorial activities. Therefore we suggest, that use of territory in Taï chimpanzees is strongly influenced by intercommunity relations. To understand differences in territory characteristics between various populations, it is of major importance to consider not only the intracommunity but also the intercommunity context.