Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chimps Caught in First Known Nighttime Crop Raids

Chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park are supplementing their diet with maize from a plantation within the park’s borders. While crop raids are a well-known problem throughout the chimps’ range, these animals were filmed venturing into the fields in the dark of night—a first for chimpanzees.

Wildlife is often a problem for people living on the edges of parks and preserves. One study found that crop raids by chimpanzees and monkeys in Rwanda caused losses equivalent to 10 to 20 percent of a farmer’s income. Chimps have been recorded eating parts of 36 different crop species, from bananas and papayas to lemons and coffee. It seems little is off the menu for a hungry chimpanzee.

A crop raid, though, can be a dangerous activity for a chimp. While the animals can be scared off by throwing stones or banging pots, some people have resorted to harsher measures, killing chimps to deter potential thieves. With chimpanzees already dwindling in numbers because of habitat loss, poaching and disease, the endangered animals hardly need another source of human conflict.

Full story here.

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