Activity rhythm and the ranging of a solitary male mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei)
To clarify the advantages of solitary life in gorilla males, a lone silverback mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei) was studied for nine months in the natural habitat of the Virunga volcanoes. While the time budget for each activity and daily activity cycle were similar to those of groups, his daily journey distance and ranging patterns differed from those of groups. His movements were little influenced by the distribution and abundance of foods, which strongly influence the movements of groups. He notably increased his day journey distances when he encountered neighboring groups. He persistently followed the groups for days and went out of his usual range area. These encounters shifted his monthly range from his natal group's range to that of other groups. When the silverbacks of the encountered groups noticed his presence, they usually gave hoots and chest-beats and sometimes fought violently with him, while females and immatures did not show positive responses towards him. Lone males could have more chance to contact females and to lure them away from their groups than silverbacks within groups. The lone male stage, accompanied by frequent contacts with different groups, probably provides maturing males with useful knowledge of neighboring groups and areas.
Key WordsGorilla gorilla beringei Lone male Activity budget Ranging Inter-male competition
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