, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 283–292 | Cite as

The effect of canopy closure on chimpanzee nest abundance in Lagoas de Cufada National Park, Guinea-Bissau

  • Joana Sousa
  • Catarina Casanova
  • André V. Barata
  • Cláudia Sousa
Original Article


The present study aimed to gather baseline information about chimpanzee nesting and density in Lagoas de Cufada Natural Park (LCNP), in Guinea-Bissau. Old and narrow trails were followed to estimate chimpanzee density through marked-nest counts and to test the effect of canopy closure (woodland savannah, forest with a sparse canopy, and forest with a dense canopy) on nest distribution. Chimpanzee abundance was estimated at 0.79 nest builders/km2, the lowest among the areas of Guinea-Bissau with currently studied chimpanzee populations. Our data suggest that sub-humid forest with a dense canopy accounts for significantly higher chimpanzee nest abundance (1.50 nests/km of trail) than sub-humid forest with a sparse canopy (0.49 nests/km of trail) or woodland savannah (0.30 nests/km of trail). Dense-canopy forests play an important role in chimpanzee nesting in the patchy and highly humanized landscape of LCNP. The tree species most frequently used for nesting are Dialium guineense (46 %) and Elaeis guineensis (28 %). E. guineensis contain nests built higher in the canopy, while D. guineense contain nests built at lower heights. Nests observed during baseline sampling and replications suggest seasonal variations in the tree species used for nest building.


Chimpanzee Marked-nest counts Estimating density Canopy closure Lagoas de Cufada Natural Park 



This study was developed within the project “Chimpanzee distribution and relation with local human communities in coastal area of Guinea-Bissau” PPCDT/ANT/57434/2004, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal, and was conducted within the framework of the Dari Project. The authors would like to thank IBAP (Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas of Guinea-Bissau) for the logistical and administrative support, to Honório Fernandes Pereira, the Director of the LCNP, and to INEP (National Institute of Studies and Research). We are also grateful to Jeremy Huet and Joana Silva for their support with GIS information. Thanks are also due to Musa Mané, Umaru Candê, Bacari Sanha, Agostinho N’fanda, Bafode Mané, Abu Dabo, and Benjamim Indec for helping the first and third authors during data collection. Many thanks to Joost van Schijndel for carefully commenting on this paper and for his patience as a reviewer, to Joana Carvalho for her insights on this draft, and to Diana Alcantara for performing a final revision of the first version. Thanks are due too to Cristina Santos and Ricardo Ramos for insights concerning some of the statistical analysis. Great thanks go to Justo Nadum for his great capacity to mobilize and organize people and work, and to Idrissa Camara for his support. Further thanks are due to Duana Namfé, Maria and Alfredo Nawgualé, comrades in everyday life, to Marina Correia for her care, and to Cristina Silva for her organizational efforts and conversations. Finally, we acknowledge Yan Overfield Shaw for proofreading the final version of the manuscript.


  1. Anderson JR, Williamson EA, Carter J (1983) Chimpanzees of Sapo forest, Liberia: density, nests, tools and meat-eating. Primates 24:594–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Araújo A (1994) A importância ornitológica da região da Cufada na Guiné-Bissau. Estudos de Biologia e Conservação da Natureza. Número 13. Ministério do Ambiente e Recursos Naturais, Instituto da Conservação da Natureza, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  3. Balcomb SR, Chapman C, Wrangham RW (2000) Relationship between chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) density and large, fleshy-fruit tree density: conservation implications. Am J Primatol 51:197–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baldwin PJ, McGrew WC, Tutin CEG (1982) Wide ranging chimpanzees at Mt. Assirik, Senegal. Int J Primatol 3:367–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beck J, Chapman H (2008) A population estimate of the endangered chimpanzee Pan troglodytes vellerosus in a Nigerian montane forest: implications for conservation. Oryx 42:448–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett CL, Leonard S, Carter S (2001) Abundance, diversity, and patterns of distribution of primates on the Tapiche river in Amazonian Peru. Am J Primatol 54:119–126PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blom A, Almasi A, Heitkonig IMA, Kpanou J-B, Prins HHT (2001) A survey of the apes in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic: a comparison between the census and survey methods of estimating the gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) nest group density. Afr J Ecol 39:98–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brownlow AR, Plumptre AJ, Reynolds V, Ward R (2001) Sources of variation in the nesting behavior of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Budongo Forest, Uganda. Am J Primatol 55:49–55PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burham KP, Laake JL, Borchers DL, Thomas L (2001) Introduction to distance sampling. Estimating abundance of biological populations. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Casanova C, Sousa C (2005) Distribuição das comunidades de chimpanzés (Pan troglodytes verus) na região costeira da República da Guiné-Bissau e a sua relação com as comunidades humanas locais. Relatório de missão Março/Abril 2005. ISCSP—Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa e FCSH—Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  11. Casanova C, Sousa C (2006) Distribuição das comunidades de chimpanzés (Pan troglodytes verus) na região costeira da República da Guiné-Bissau e a sua relação com as comunidades humanas locais. Relatório de missão (Fevereiro/Março 2006). ISCSP—Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa e FCSH—Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  12. Casanova C, Sousa C (2007a) National action plan for the conservation of the chimpanzee, red western colobus and black and white western colobus monkey populations in Guinea-Bissau Republic. IBAP—Instituto da Biodiversidade e Áreas Protegidas, BissauGoogle Scholar
  13. Casanova C, Sousa C (2007b) Plano de acção nacional para a conservação das populações de Chimpanzés, Cólobus Vermelhos Ocidentais e Cólobus Brancos e Pretos Ocidentais na República da Guiné-Bissau. IBAP—Instituto da Biodiversidade e Áreas Protegidas, Bissau, República da Guiné-BissauGoogle Scholar
  14. Catarino L (2002) Flora e vegetação do Parque Natural das Lagoas de Cufada (Guiné-Bissau). Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), LisboaGoogle Scholar
  15. Catarino LM (2004) Fitogeografia da Guiné-Bissau. Ph.D. thesis. Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  16. Catarino LM (2006) Plantas vasculares e briófitos da Guiné-Bissau. Instituto de Investigação Cientifica Tropical, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  17. Crawford-Cabral J, Veríssimo L (1997) Estudo do Parque Natural das Lagoas da Cufada (Guiné-Bissau). 1ª missão Zoológica. Relatório específico sobre a fauna de mamíferos. Centro de Zoologia do Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), LisboaGoogle Scholar
  18. Dupain J, Nguenang K, Vleeschouwer D, Elsacker L (2004) High chimpanzee and gorilla densities in a non-protected area on the northern periphery of the Dja Faunal Reserve, Cameroon. Oryx 38:209–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fashing PJ, Cords M (2000) Diurnal primate densities and biomass in the Kakamega forest: an evaluation of census methods and a comparison with other forests. Am J Primatol 50:139–152PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fleury-Brugiere M-C, Brugiere D (2010) High population density of Pan troglodytes verus in the Haut Niger National Park, Republic of Guinea: implication for local and regional conservation. Int J Primatol 31:383–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Furuichi T, Hashimoto C (2004) Botanical and topographical factors influencing nesting-site selection by chimpanzees in Kalinzu Forest, Uganda. Int J Primatol 25:755–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Furuichi T, Hashimoto C, Tashiro Y (2001) Extended application of a marked-nest census method to examine seasonal changes in habitat use by chimpanzees. Int J Primatol 22:913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gippoliti S, Dell’Omo G (1996) Primates of the Cantanhez Forest and the Cacine Basin, Guinea-Bissau. Oryx 30:74–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gippoliti S, Dell’Omo G (2003) Primates of Guinea-Bissau, West Africa: distribution and conservation status. Primate Conserv 19:73–77Google Scholar
  25. Gippoliti S, Sousa C, Embalo D (2003) Guiné-Bissau. In: Kormos R, Boesch C, Bakarr HI, Butynski TM (eds) West African Chimpanzees. IUCN, Gland, pp 55–61Google Scholar
  26. Hall JS, White LT, Inogwabini B-I, Omari I, Morland HS, Williamson EA, Saltonstall K, Walsh P, Sikubwabo C, Bonny D, Kiswele KP, Vedder A, Freeman K (1998) Survey of Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla gorilla graueri) and eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthi) in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park lowland sector and adjacent forest in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Int J Primatol 19:207–235Google Scholar
  27. Hashimoto C (1995) Population census of the chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest, Uganda: comparison between methods with nest counts. Primates 36:477–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hernandez-Aguilar RA (2009) Chimpanzee nest distribution and site reuse in a dry habitat: implications for early hominin ranging. Hum Evol 57:350–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hicks TC, Fouts RS, Fouts DH (2009) A survey of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the selectively logged Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic. J Appl Anim Welf Sci 12:165–188PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hill T, Lewicki P (2006) Statistics: methods and applications: a comprehensive reference for science, industry, and data mining. StatSoft, Inc., TulsaGoogle Scholar
  31. Hockings KJ, Sousa C (2013) Human-chimpanzee sympatry and interactions in Cantanhez National Park, Guinea-Bissau: current research and future directions. Primate Conserv 26:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. IBAP (2007) Estratégia nacional para as áreas protegidas e a conservação da biodiversidade na Guiné-Bissau 2007–2011. Instituto de Biodiversidade e Áreas Protegidas (IBAP), BissauGoogle Scholar
  33. Ihobe H (1995) The diurnal primate fauna and population densities of Tschego chimpanzees in southwestern Congo. Afr Stud Monogr 16:35–44Google Scholar
  34. Ihobe H (2005) Life-span of chimpanzee beds at the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. Pan Africa News 12:10–12Google Scholar
  35. Karibuhoye C (2004) Mammal conservation status and prospects for community-based wildlife management in coastal Guinea-Bissau. Georg-August-Universität zu Göttingen, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  36. Kühl H, Maisels F, Ancrenaz M, Williamson EA (2008) Best practice guidelines for surveys and monitoring of great ape populations. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), GlandGoogle Scholar
  37. Marchesi P, Marchesi N, Fruth B, Boesch C (1995) Census and distribution of chimpanzees in Côte D’Ivoire. Primates 36:591–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martins ES, Catarino LM (2001) Relatório da missão Botânica à República da Guiné-Bissau realizada de 10 de Abril a 11 de Maio de 2001 no âmbito do projecto “Parque Natural das Lagoas de Cufada”. Centro de Botânica do Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), LisboaGoogle Scholar
  39. Martins ES, Conceição FJM, Catarino LM (1998) Relatório da missão conjunta à República da Guiné-Bissau realizada de 26 de Maio a 10 de Junho no âmbito do projecto “Parque Natural das Lagoas da Cufada”. Centro de Botânica, Centro de Estudos de Pedologia, Centro de Geologia—Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical (IICT), LisboaGoogle Scholar
  40. Matthews A, Matthews A (2004) Survey of gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in southwestern Cameroon. Primates 45:15–24PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McLennan MR (2008) Beleaguered chimpanzees in the agricultural District of Hoima, Western Uganda. Primate Conserv 23:45–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Morgan D, Sanz C, Onononga JR, Strindberg S (2006) Ape abundance and habitat use in the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo. Int J Primatol 27:147–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ogawa H, Idani G, Moore J, Pintea L, Hernandez-Aguilar A (2007) Sleeping parties and nest distribution of chimpanzees in the savanna woodland, Ugalla, Tanzania. Int J Primatol 28:1397–1412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Plumptre AJ (2000) Monitoring mammal populations with line transect techniques in African forests. J Appl Ecol 37:356–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Plumptre AJ, Cox D (2006) Counting primates for conservation: primate surveys in Uganda. Primates 47:65–73PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Plumptre AJ, Reynolds V (1996) Censusing chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, Uganda. Int J Primatol 17:85–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Plumptre AJ, Reynolds V (1997) Nesting behavior of chimpanzees: implications for censuses. Int J Primatol 18:475–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. PNLC (2011) Parque Natural das Lagoas de Cufada. Accessed 5 Sept 2011
  49. PNUD (2000) Projecto GBS/97/G31/1G/9—Estratégia e plano de acção nacional para a biodiversidade. Ministério de Desenvolvimento Rural e Agricultura, Recursos Naturais e Ambiente, BissauGoogle Scholar
  50. Polansky L, Boesch C (2013) Long-term changes in fruit phenology in a West African lowland tropical rain forest are not explained by rainfall. Biotropica 45:434–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pruetz JD, Marchant LF, Arno J, McGrew WC (2002) Survey of savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Southeastern Sénégal. Am J Primatol 58:35–43Google Scholar
  52. Sá RMM, Silva MFd, Sousa FM, Minhós T (2012) The trade and ethnobiological use of chimpanzee body parts in Guinea-Bissau: implications for conservation. TRAFFIC Bull 24:31–34Google Scholar
  53. Salgado A, Fedi F, Leitão F (2009) Relatório preliminar do processo de construção do Porto de Buba e seus impactos (unpublished report). Instituto da Biodiversidade e Áreas Protegidas (IBAP), BissauGoogle Scholar
  54. Sanches APR, Cittadino A, Artuso M (2003) Conversão de terras em solos urbanos, 1989-1997. Análise pela salvaguarda de agricultura urbana periurbana e pela segurança alimentar, vol Woking Paper nr 1. Politecnico di Torino, TorinoGoogle Scholar
  55. Sanz C, Morgan D, Strindberg S, Onononga JR (2007) Distinguishing between the nests of sympatric chimpanzees and gorillas. J Appl Ecol 44:263–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Silva MJFd (2012) Hunting pressure and the population genetic patterns and sex-mediated dispersal in the Guinea Baboon in Guinea-Bissau. Ph.D. dissertation. Cardiff University, CardiffGoogle Scholar
  57. Sokal R, Rohlf F (1995) Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  58. Sousa F (2009) Densidade de Pan troglodytes verus e uso de recursos naturais pela população local (Gadamael, República da Guiné-Bissau) [Dissertação de Mestrado]. Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  59. Sousa C, Gippoliti S, Akhlas M (2005) Republic of Guinea-Bissau. In: Caldecott J, Miles L (eds) World atlas of great apes and their conservation. UNEP—World Conservation Monitoring Centre; University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 362–365Google Scholar
  60. Sousa J, Barata AV, Sousa C, Casanova CCN, Vicente L (2011) Chimpanzee oil-palm use in southern Cantanhez National Park, Guinea-Bissau. Am J Primatol 73:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sousa J, Vicente L, Gippoliti S, Casanova C, Sousa C (2013) Local knowledge and perceptions of chimpanzees in Cantanhez National Park, Guinea-Bissau. Am J Primatol. doi:  10.1002/ajp.22215
  62. StatSoft (2003) Statistica: data analysis software system. StatSoft Inc., TulsaGoogle Scholar
  63. Stokes EJ, Strindberg S, Bakabana PC, Elkan PW, Iyenguet FC, Madzoké B, Malanda GAF, Mowawa BS, Moukoumbou C, Ouakabadio FK, Rainey HJ (2010) Monitoring great ape and elephant abundance and large spatial scales: measuring effectiveness of a conservation landscape. PLoS ONE 5:e10294PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sugiyama Y, Koman J (1987) A preliminary list of chimpanzees’ alimentation at Bossou, Guinea. Primates 28:133–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Thomas L, Buckland ST, Rexstad EA, Laake JL, Strindberg S, Hedley SL, Bishop JRB, Marques FFC, Burnham KP (2010) Distance software: design and analysis of distance sampling surveys for estimating population size. J Appl Ecol 47:5–14PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. van Schaik CP, Wich SA, Utami SS, Odom K (2005) A simple alternative to line transects of nests for estimating orangutan densities. Primates 46:249–254Google Scholar
  67. Walsh PD, Abernethy KA, Bermejo M, Beyers R, Wachter PD, Akou ME, Huijbregts B, Mambounga DI, Toham AK, Kilbourn AM, Lahm SA, Latour S, Maisels F, Mbina C, Mihindou Y, Obiang SN, Effa EN, Starkey MP, Telfer P, Thibault M, Tutin CEG, White LJT, Wilkie DS (2003) Catastrophic ape decline in western equatorial Africa. Lett Nat 422:611–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zamma K, Makelele M (2012) Comparison of the longevity of chimpanzee beds between two areas in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. Pan Africa News 19:25–28Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana Sousa
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Catarina Casanova
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  • André V. Barata
    • 7
  • Cláudia Sousa
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Antropologia, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas (FCSH)Universidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM)Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon UniversityLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA)LisbonPortugal
  5. 5.CAPP-Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas da Universidade Técnica de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  6. 6.Unidade de AntropologiaInstituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (ISCSP) da Universidade Técnica de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  7. 7.University of StirlingStirlingUK

Personalised recommendations