, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 65–73 | Cite as

Counting primates for conservation: primate surveys in Uganda

  • Andrew J. Plumptre
  • Debby Cox
Original Article


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.


Biomass Chimpanzee Primate census Tropical forest Uganda 



Much of the work described here was funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Jane Goodall Institute. Particular donors included the Daniel K. Thorne Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Great Ape Conservation Fund, Crane Bank, Total, Uganda Breweries, Cleveland Metroparks Zoological Society, Berggorilla and Regenwald Direkthilfe, and UNDP/GEF through WWF. We are grateful to the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Uganda Forest Department and their many staff who supported these surveys. We would also like to thank Professor John Oates and an anonymous reviewer for comments made on drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wildlife Conservation SocietyKampalaUganda
  2. 2.Jane Goodall InstituteEntebbeUganda

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