Behavioral Ecology of Sympatric Chimpanzees and Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: Diet

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Via a field study of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, we found that their diets are seasonally similar, but diverge during lean seasons. Bwindi chimpanzees fed heavily on fruits of Ficus sp., which were largely ignored by the gorillas. Bwindi gorilla diet was overall more folivorous than chimpanzee diet, but was markedly more frugivorous than that of gorillas in the nearby Virunga Volcanoes. During 4 mo of the year Bwindi gorilla diet included more food species than that of the chimpanzees. Three factors in particular—seasonal consumption of fibrous foods by gorillas, interspecific differences in preferred fruit species, and meat consumption by chimpanzees—contributed to dietary divergence between the two species. When feeding on fruits, gorillas ate Myrianthus holstii more frequently than chimpanzees did, while chimpanzees included more figs in their annual diet. Chimpanzee diet included meat of duikers and monkeys; gorilla frequently consumed decaying wood.

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