International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1601–1617 | Cite as

Probable Community Transfer of Parous Adult Female Chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, Uganda

  • M. Emery Thompson
  • N. E. Newton-Fisher
  • V. Reynolds

Female chimpanzees with dependent offspring generally avoid border areas of their community's home range because they risk aggression and infanticide from extracommunity males. Typically, only nulliparous females risk crossing the boundary areas to transfer between communities; while immigration of parous females occurs, it is extremely rare and dangerous for the females and their offspring. In the Budongo Forest, Uganda, where researchers have continuously studied the Sonso community since 1990, our field data provide strong indications that ≥5 adult females with offspring have immigrated into the community. If the interpretation is correct, then it has fundamental implications for our understanding of female chimpanzee social strategies and dispersal patterns. Further, the identification of such a large number of new individuals within a short time frame is remarkable and suggests a major event, such as the breakup of a neighboring community or major habitat disturbance. We explore the evidence that points to the events as immigrations and discuss the implications for understanding the chimpanzee social system.


female transfer immigration ranging patterns social organization 



The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Department for International Development, and the National Geographic Society provide funding for the Budongo Forest Project. M. Emery Thompson received additional financial support from Harvard University, the Leakey Foundation, and Wenner-Gren Foundation; the Leverhume Trust and the H. F. Guggenheim Foundation supported N. E. Newton-Fisher. The Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Uganda Forestry Department approved chimpanzee research. We thank Makerere University and Dr. John Kaboggoza for local support of the project. We also thank BFP's team of field assistants, including Zephyr T. Kiwede, Geresomu Muhumuza, James Kakura, Monday Gideon, Raimond Ogen, Joseph Karamagi, and Kennedy Andama. We appreciate the hard work of BFP director Dr. Fred Babweteera and acting or assistant directors Sean O'Hara, Dr. Gerald Eilu, and Michael Mbogga, who oversaw research activities. The comments of Richard Wrangham, Anne Pusey, Sean O'Hara, Catherine O'Hara, Lucy Bates, Linda Vigilant, and 1 anonymous reviewer improved the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Emery Thompson
    • 1
    • 4
  • N. E. Newton-Fisher
    • 2
    • 4
  • V. Reynolds
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  3. 3.School of AnthropologyOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  4. 4.Budongo Forest ProjectMasindiUganda

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