Population density and nesting behaviour of lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the Ngotto forest, Central African Republic

Authors


All correspondence to: David Brugiere, Station Biologique, 35 380 Paimpont, France. E-mail: david.brugiere@univ-rennes1.fr

Abstract

The population density and nesting behaviour of gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) was studied in the Ngotto forest, Central African Republic. We carried out a nest count along 94 km of transects. Also, the herbaceous vegetation of the understory was quantified and we attempted to assess the decay rate of nest sites. A total of 145 gorilla nests in 27 nest sites was found. We found 82.1% of gorilla nests > 2 m above ground. There was a significant correlation between the height of nests and the diameter of trees with nests. The density was estimated at 0.34–0.40 weaned gorillas per km2 depending on the value of nest site decay rate used. The herbaceous vegetation was scarce in the study site (42 out of 50 quadrats had no herbaceous stems). Compared with the gorilla population of the nearby Dzanga-Sangha forest, the population density of gorillas at Ngotto was lower but the proportion of nests found above ground was much higher. These differences are discussed and we suggest that they were the result of the scarcity of herbaceous vegetation in the Ngotto forest.

Ancillary