Do Nematode Infections of Red Colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) and Black-and-White Colobus (Colobus guereza) on Humanized Forest Edges Differ from Those on Nonhumanized Forest Edges?
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Forested edges, especially those that border humanized landscapes, provide opportunities for nonhuman primates and people to interact, and such interactions are predicted to alter disease dynamics. Given the rapid expansion of edge habitats globally, understanding changes occurring on edges is important in evaluating primate behavioral ecology and developing conservation plans. Our research investigates predictions concerning how gastrointestinal parasite and stress levels (cortisol) in red colobus and black-and-white colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus; Colobus guereza) in Kibale National Park, Uganda, differ between humanized and nonhumanized forest edges. We found Trichuris sp., an unidentified strongyle, and Strongyloides sp. in the fecal samples. Results did not generally support our expectation that humanized forest edges increase parasite infection and, counter to what we predicted, fecal cortisol did not differ between habitats, suggesting that proximity to edges and/or to humans did not result in increased stress. We conclude that broad habitat classifications, e.g., “humanized,” may be too general to identify consistent differences in parasite infection, as other factors, specific to the parasite (e.g., life cycled), host (e.g., immune systems strength), or environment (e.g., moisture level), likely also play important roles.
KeywordsColobus Cortisol Edge Kibale National Park, Uganda Parasite
Funding was provided by the Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, Primate Conservation Inc., and Sigma Xi. Makerere Biological Field Station, the Uganda National Science and Technology research council, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority granted us permission to conduct this research and the research complied with McGill University’s Animal Use Protocol. We thank Dwight Bowman and Ellis Greiner for help with the identification of parasites and Tania Saj, Toni Ziegler, and Dan Witter for help in cortisol collection/analysis. The research was improved by comments from Lauren Chapman, Jan Gogarten, Carolyn Hall, Mitchell Irwin, Tania Saj, Tamaini Snaith, and the anonymous reviewers.
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