, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Influence of chimpanzee predation on the red colobus population at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda

  • Simone TeelenEmail author
Original Article


Frequent hunting of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus rufomitratus) takes place at all long-term chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) study sites where both species are present. Red colobus are the most commonly selected prey of chimpanzees even when other monkey species are more abundant. In particular, the chimpanzee community at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda, preys heavily on red colobus monkeys: the chimpanzee hunting success rate is extremely high, and chimpanzees kill many individuals per successful hunt. Census data had suggested that the red colobus population is declining and that predation by chimpanzees may be contributing to this decline. In this paper, I address the impact of hunting on the red colobus population at Ngogo. To test the hypothesis that chimpanzee hunting is sustainable, I am using demographic data collected on red colobus monkeys over a period of 3 years, as well as fecundity and mortality data from previous studies of this species. I apply matrix models and vortex analyses using a sensitivity analysis approach to project future population development. Results show that current rates of hunting are not sustainable, but that chimpanzees are neither more “noble”, nor more “savage” than humans are, but that they also hunt to ensure maximum benefit without regard for the consequences for the prey population.


Red colobus monkeys Chimpanzees Hunting Demography Kibale Uganda 



I would particularly like to thank David Watts and John Mitani for their help with this study and especially for access to their data. Tom Struhsaker, Hjalmar Kuhl, Hiroshi Ihobe, and one anonymous reviewer provided valuable comments on the manuscript and Jon Ballou introduced me to VORTEX; I would like to thank them for their time and effort and encouragements. In addition, I would like to thank to Stephanie F. Anestis, Jeremiah S. Lwanga and the people at Ngogo who all had some kind of impact at some point in time on this study. This study was funded by the Leakey Foundation, the National Science Foundation (dissertation improvement grant #BCS-0109999) and the Enders Foundation. Permission was granted by the Office of the President in Uganda, the National Council for Science and Technology in Uganda, Ugandan Wildlife Authority, Makerere University Biological Field Station and by Yale’s Animal Care and Use Committee.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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