Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 7
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

9 - Demography and life history of five chimpanzee communities in Taï National Park


Demography and life-history data provide key information for our interpretation of the evolution and ecology of a species. Gathering reliable data can be a challenge, especially in species with long life spans such as the great apes. Only long-term field projects can compile trustworthy demography data, allowing us to access life-history measures. Here, we present the demography of four communities of wild chimpanzees (North, South, Middle and East Groups) located in Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire, following observations of individual chimpanzees for almost 40 years. We will provide demography data on birth, mortality, community size, age and sex ratios, among others, and translate these into life-history measures related to reproductive strategies (age of mother at birth of first infant, interbirth interval, etc.) and fitness (reproductive success, longevity, etc.). A comparison with available data from other long-term chimpanzee study sites will be made and we will discuss the life-history adaptations of Taï chimpanzees to the challenges they are facing.

Arcadi, A. C. & Wrangham, R. W. (1999). Infanticide in chimpanzees: Review of cases and a new within-group observation from the Kanyawara study group in Kibale National Park. Primates, 40, 337351.
Beechie, T., Buhle, E., Ruckelshaus, M., Fullerton, A. & Holsinger, L. (2006). Hydrologic regime and the conservation of salmon life history diversity. Biological Conservation, 130, 560572.
Beehner, J. C., Onderdonk, D. A., Alberts, S. C. & Altmann, J. (2006). The ecology of conception and pregnancy failure in wild baboons. Behavioral Ecology, 17, 741750.
Boesch, C. (1991). The effects of leopard predation on grouping patterns in forest chimpanzees. Behaviour, 117, 220241.
Boesch, C. (2009). The Real Chimpanzee: Sex Strategies in the Forest. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boesch, C. (2012). Wild Cultures: A Comparison between Chimpanzee and Human Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boesch, C. & Boesch-Achermann, H. (2000). The Chimpanzees of the Taï Forest: Behavioural Ecology and Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brashares, J.S. (2003). Ecological, behavioral, and life-history correlates of mammal extinctions in West Africa. Conservation Biology, 17, 733743.–1739.2003.01592.x
Campbell, G., Kuehl, H., Diarrassouba, A., N’Goran, P.K. & Boesch, C. (2011). Long-term research sites as refugia for threatened and over-harvested species. Biology Letters, 7, 723726.
Deschner, T. & Boesch, C. (2007). Can the patterns of sexual swelling cycles in female Taï chimpanzees be explained by the cost-of-sexual-attraction hypothesis? International Journal of Primatology, 28, 389406.–9120–1
Emery Thompson, M., Jones, J. H., Pusey, A. E., Brewer-Marsden, S., Goodall, J., Marsden, D., et al. (2007b). Aging and fertility patterns in wild chimpanzees provide insights into the evolution of menopause. Current Biology, 17, 21502156.
Emery Thompson, M. E., Kahlenberg, S. M., Gilby, I. C. & Wrangham, R. W. (2007a). Core area quality is associated with variance in reproductive success among female chimpanzees at Kibale National Park. Animal Behaviour, 73, 501512.
Goodall, J. (1986). The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Grützmacher, K., Keil, V., Leinert, V., Leguillon, F., Henlin, A., Couacy-Hymann, E., et al. (2017). Human quarantine: Toward reducing infectious pressure on chimpanzees at the Taï Chimpanzee Project, Côte d’Ivoire. American Journal of Primatology, 80, e22619.
Hanamura, S., Kooriyama, T. & Hosaka, K. (2015). Disease and deaths: variety and impact on social life. In Nakamura, M., Hosaka, K., Itoh, N. & Zamma, K. (eds.), Mahale Chimpanzees – 50 Years of Research (pp. 254371). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hoffmann, C., Zimmermann, F., Biek, R., Kuehl, H., Nowak, K., Mundry, R., et al. (2017). Persistent anthrax as a major driver of wildlife mortality in a tropical rainforest. Nature, 548, 8286.
Kablan, Y. A., Diarrassouba, A., Mundry, R., Campbell, G., Normand, E., Kühl, H. S., et al. (2019). Effects of anti-poaching patrols on the distribution of large mammals in Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire. Oryx, 53, 469478.
Kinzey, W. G. (1987). Evolution of Human Behavior: Primate Models. New York: SUNY Press.
Köndgen, S., Kühl, H., N’Goran, P. K., Walsh, P. D., Schenk, S., Ernst, N., et al. (2008). Pandemic human viruses cause decline of endangered great apes. Current Biology, 18, 260264.
Kouassi, J. A. K., Normand, E., Koné, I. & Boesch, C. (2019). Bushmeat consumption and environmental awareness in rural households: A case study around Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire. Oryx, 53, 293299.
Kruuk, L. E. B., Clutton-Brock, T. H., Albon, S. D., Pemberton, J. M. & Guinness, F. E. (1999). Population density affects sex ratio variation in red deer. Nature, 399, 459461.
Langergraber, K. E., Mitani, J. C. & Vigilant, L. (2007). The limited impact of kinship on cooperation in wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 77867790. of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.0611449104
Le Guenno, B., Formenty, P., Wyers, M., Gounon, P., Walker, F. & Boesch, C. (1995). Isolation and partial characterisation of a new strain of Ebola virus. The Lancet, 345, 12711274.–6736(95)90925–7
Lehmann, J., Fickenscher, G. & Boesch, C. (2006). Kin biased investment in wild chimpanzees. Behaviour, 143, 931955.
Lemoine, S., Boesch, C., Crockford, C. & Wittig, R. M. (under review). Between-group competition incurs fitness costs in wild chimpanzees. Current Biology.
Mielke, A., Samuni, L., Preis, A., Gogarten, J. F., Crockford, C. & Wittig, R. M. (2017). Bystanders intervene to impede grooming in Western chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 171296.
Mielke, A., Preis, A., Samuni, L., Gogarten, J. F., Wittig, R. M. & Crockford, C. (2018). Flexible decision-making in grooming partner choice in sooty mangabeys and chimpanzees. Royal Society Open Science, 5, 172143.
Mitani, J. C. (2006). Demographic influences on the behavior of chimpanzees. Primates, 47, 613.–0139–7
Nakamura, M. (2015). Demography of M-group. In Nakamura, M., Hosaka, K., Itoh, N. & Zamma, K. (eds.), Mahale Chimpanzees – 50 Years of Research (pp. 8293). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nakamura, M., Hosaka, K., Itoh, N. & Zamma, K. (2015). Mahale Chimpanzees – 50 Years of Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Newing, H. (2001). Bushmeat hunting and management: Implications of duiker ecology and interspecific competition. Biodiversity & Conservation, 10, 99118.
N’Goran, P. K., Boesch, C., Mundry, R., N’Goran, E. K., Herbinger, I., Yapi, F. A., et al. (2012). Hunting, law enforcement, and African primate conservation. Conservation Biology, 26, 565571.–1739.2012.01821.x
Nishida, T., Corp, N., Hamai, M., Hasegawa, T., Hiraiwa‐Hasegawa, M., Hosaka, K., et al. (2003). Demography, female life history, and reproductive profiles among the chimpanzees of Mahale. American Journal of Primatology, 59, 99121.
Refisch, J. & Koné, I. (2005). Impact of commercial hunting on monkey populations in the Taï region, Côte d’Ivoire. Biotropica, 37, 136144.–7429.2005.03174.x
Reynolds, V. (2005). The Chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest: Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sugiyama, Y. (2004). Demographic parameters and life history of chimpanzees at Bossou, Guinea. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 124, 154165.
Teleki, G., Hunt, E. E. & Pfifferling, J. H. (1976). Demographic observations (1963–1973) on the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution, 5, 559598.–2484(76)90004–X
Vigilant, L., Hofreiter, M., Siedel, H. & Boesch, C. (2001). Paternity and relatedness in wild chimpanzee communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98, 12,89012,895. of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.231320498
Wallis, J. (1997). A survey of reproductive parameters in the free-ranging chimpanzees of Gombe National Park. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 109, 297307.
Watts, D. P. & Mitani, J. C. (2000). Infanticide and cannibalism by male chimpanzees at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. Primates, 41, 357365.
Whiten, A. (2005). The second inheritance system of chimpanzees and humans. Nature, 437, 5255.
Williams, J. M., Lonsdorf, E. V., Wilson, M. L., Schumacher‐Stankey, J., Goodall, J. & Pusey, A. E. (2008). Causes of death in the Kasekela chimpanzees of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. American Journal of Primatology, 70, 766777.
Williams, J. M., Oehlert, G. W., Carlis, J. V. & Pusey, A. E. (2004). Why do male chimpanzees defend a group range? Animal Behaviour, 68, 523532.
Wittig, R. M. (2018). Taï Chimpanzees. In Vonk, J. & Shackelford, T. K. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Heidelberg: Springer.
Wittig, R. M. & Leendertz, F. H. (2014). Appendix I. An example of quarantine & hygiene procedures. In Best Practice Guidelines for Health Monitoring and Disease Control in Great Ape Populations. Gland: IUCN.