International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1397–1412 | Cite as

Sleeping Parties and Nest Distribution of Chimpanzees in the Savanna Woodland, Ugalla, Tanzania

  • Hideshi Ogawa
  • Gen’ich Idani
  • Jim Moore
  • Lilian Pintea
  • Adriana Hernandez-Aguilar


We conducted ecological studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the Ugalla area, western Tanzania. Ugalla is one of the driest habitats of chimpanzees and the Ugalla River is the eastern boundary of chimpanzee distribution. Most of Ugalla is occupied by savanna woodlands dominated by deciduous trees of Brachystegia and Julbernardia. Chimpanzees tended not to make nests in riverine forests in plains, but in small patchy forests dominated by Monopetalanthus richardsiae and valley forests dominated by Julbernardia unijugata on slopes in mountainous areas. We estimated population density of chimpanzees to be 7–9 × 10−2 individuals/km2 based on nest censuses, suggesting that 2–3 × 102 individuals inhabited the 3352 km2 area of Ugalla. The size of the largest nest cluster (n=23) suggests that 1 unit group (community) comprised 30–35 individuals. In the daytime, chimpanzees formed small feeding parties (mean 2.0 individuals), but larger ones in the evening (mean 4.8 individuals and 5.2 individuals based on fresh nest clusters). The pattern might reduce the predation risk from large nocturnal carnivores such as lions and leopards. The sleeping sites may function as both a safe sleeping site and a meeting point for chimpanzees with a huge home range that may have difficulty in finding other members of their unit group.


chimpanzee nest distribution party size savanna woodland Ugalla area 



We thank Takayoshi Kano, Masaomi Kanaomi, Hosea Y. Kayumbo, Edeus T. Massawe, Junichiro Itani, Toshisada Nishida, Are Thune Paulsen, Toshimichi Nemoto, Alexander Piel, Fiona Stewart, and Kirit Vaitha for their suggestions and cooperation of the survey; Emanweli K. Sehele, Batromeo Kadyugenze, Arfani Murorerowa, Moshi Rajabu, Ramadhani Bilali, Busoti Juma, Abdall Saidi, and other local assistants for their help; Frank Mbago, Yahya Abeid, and other members of Herbarium, Dar es Salaam University, and Kaji Vollesen for plant identification; Daiji Kimura and offices of Meteorology for the data on vegetation and weather. The data and primary responsibility for this article are those of H. Ogawa and G. Idani, with J. Moore, A. Hernandez-Aguilar, and L. Pintea contributing unpublished data, discussion, and assistance with writing during H. Ogawa’s sabbatical at University of California, San Diego. The Tanzanian authorities (Costech and Tawiri) granted permission for the study. A Grand-in-Aid for Scientific Research of MEXT, Japan (06061064; 09041160; 1257597; 17255005) and Global Environment Research Fund F061 provided funding for H. Ogawa and G. Idani. The Leakey Foundation and UCSD Committer on Research provided funding for J. Moore, and the NSF and Leakey Foundation provided funding for A. Hernandez-Aguilar.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hideshi Ogawa
    • 1
  • Gen’ich Idani
    • 2
  • Jim Moore
    • 3
  • Lilian Pintea
    • 4
  • Adriana Hernandez-Aguilar
    • 5
  1. 1.School of International Liberal StudiesChukyo UniversityToyota, AichiJapan
  2. 2.Great Ape Research Institute (GARI)TamanoJapan
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Jane Goodall InstituteArlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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