International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1589–1599 | Cite as

Female Coalitions Against Male Aggression in Wild Chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest


In the wild, female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are subject to male aggression that at times can be prolonged or particularly violent. There are no reports of cooperative retaliation to such aggression, a strategy observed in the congeneric Pan paniscus, from the wild despite >4 decades of detailed behavioral study across a number of populations and its occurrence among captive female chimpanzees. If the reports from captivity represent an inherent capacity, then the absence of similar reports from wild populations suggests that females may be able to form coalitions only under appropriate ecological and demographic conditions. During a study of male and female aggressive interactions among chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest, Uganda, wild adult female chimpanzees sometimes formed coalitions with one another to retaliate against male aggression. This may be possible because these females tend to be more gregarious than in other populations of East African chimpanzees, as other studies of the same population have suggested; the extent and variation of female chimpanzee social strategies may, therefore, need reconsideration. Further, my observations strengthen the argument that at least some of the differences between chimpanzees and bonobos may be more of degree than of kind.


aggression coalition cooperation Pan troglodytes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of KentCanterburyU.K.
  2. 2.Budongo Forest ProjectMasindiUganda

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