Habitual ground nesting in the Bugoma Forest chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), Uganda

Cat Hobaiter*, Harmonie Klein, Thibaud Gruber

*Corresponding author for this work

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We report the presence of habitual ground nesting in a newly studied East African chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) population in the Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, Uganda. Across a 2-year period, we encountered 891 night nests, 189 of which were classified as ground nests, a rate of ~21%. We find no preliminary evidence of socio-ecological factors that would promote its use and highlight local factors, such as high incidence of forest disturbance due to poaching and logging, which appear to make its use disadvantageous. While further study is required to establish whether this behavior meets the strict criteria for nonhuman animal culture, we support the argument that the wider use of population and group-specific behavioral repertoires in flagship species, such as chimpanzees, offers a tool to promote the urgent conservation action needed to protect threatened ecosystems, including the Bugoma forest.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23583
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number2
Early online date30 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2024


  • Behavioral variation
  • Chimpanzee
  • Sleep
  • Sleeping platform


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