Counting primates for conservation: primate surveys in Uganda
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Primate census techniques have been developed over the past 35–40 years yet there is still some confusion and great variation in the methods used. This precludes comparisons between sites where different techniques have been used. This paper discusses the variations between the methods that seem to be practiced currently and then describes a census of primates in the forests of western Uganda. Primate density and biomass varied greatly between forests as well as within forests and this is probably related to food availability. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) density was strongly correlated with nest encounter rates from reconnaissance walks in the forest. This result can be used to estimate chimpanzee density in forests where it is difficult to survey this species (e.g., due to security reasons). A total of 4,980 chimpanzee was estimated for Uganda which is higher than previously guessed, but still of conservation concern. Only four forests had more than 500 individuals which gives concern for long-term population viability.