, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 437–440 | Cite as

First report of prey capture from human laid snare-traps by wild chimpanzees

  • Charlotte Brand
  • Robert Eguma
  • Klaus Zuberbühler
  • Catherine HobaiterEmail author
Original Article


Chimpanzees regularly hunt for meat in the wild, including both solo and group hunting; however, theft of prey from non-chimpanzee hunters, or scavenging of carcasses is extremely rare. Here we report the first observations of a novel prey capture technique by the chimpanzees in two adjacent communities in the Budongo Conservation Field Station, Uganda. In both cases blue duikers were found caught in human laid snare traps, and then retrieved by the chimpanzees. In one case the duiker was still alive when retrieved and subsequently fully consumed by the chimpanzees. In the other, the chimpanzees encountered the duiker while alive, but retrieved it soon after its death; here only a small portion was consumed. These observations are discussed in comparison to observations of chimpanzee hunting, scavenging, and their exploitation of an environment increasingly modified by human activity.


Pan troglodytes Blue duiker Scavenging Hunting Budongo 



We would like to thank staff of the Budongo Conservation Field Station, in particular the chimpanzee field assistants, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, the President’s Office, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the National Forestry Authority. We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Unionʼs Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 283871.

Supplementary material

Video S1. Dead blue duiker trapped in snare wire. The now dead duiker is freed from the wire snare which had trapped it around its neck (by RE). (MOV 5,501 kb)

Video S2. Duiker is retrieved by female chimpanzee Kipepeo. Hearing that the chimpanzees had remained in the area, after freeing the duiker the observers hid themselves from view in nearby foliage and continued to film. Female chimpanzee Kipepeo can be seen returning to the site (face visible at 8 s) and reaching her hand out (11 s) to retrieve the carcass (13 s). (MOV 5,288 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Brand
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Eguma
    • 2
  • Klaus Zuberbühler
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Catherine Hobaiter
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution and Scottish Primate Research Group, School of Psychology and NeuroscienceUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsScotland, UK
  2. 2.Budongo Conservation Field StationMasindiUganda
  3. 3.Department of Comparative Cognition, Institute of BiologyUniversity of NeuchatelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

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