Three cases were observed in which chimpanzees at Bossou captured a tree hyrax and toyed with it without eating it. These three cases clearly indicate that Bossou chimpanzees do not regard the tree hyrax as prey, although researchers at a different site in Africa have observed chimpanzees consuming another species of hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei). Local differences in prey selectivity in chimpanzees might represent social traditions that are particular to each chimpanzee community and whereby “prey images” are established and transmitted from one generation to the next. The Bossou chimpanzees appeared to use the hyrax for play rather than prey.
KeywordsAdult Female Prey Species Adolescent Male Juvenile Female Alpha Male
We thank the Direction Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (DNRST) and the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB) for the permission to carry out research at Bossou. Thanks are also due to all the collaborators during our stay at Bossou. This study was financed by a Grant from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture, Japan (#07041135, 07102010, 12301006, 16002001, and 20680015) and from JSPS-HOPE.
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