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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Thomas Gillespie, 400 Dowman Drive, Suite E510, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; Email: thomas.gillespie@emory.edu

Acknowledgments: The authors thank the Jane Goodall Institute and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) for initiating and continuing the 50-year research tradition at Gombe, including providing support for the current health-monitoring project.

In addition, they thank all the Gombe Stream Research Centre field assistants who contributed and continue to contribute to sample and data collection.

They are grateful to Shadrack Kamenya, Anthony Collins, Michael Wilson, Jared Bakuza, Baraka Gilagiza, Matendo Msafiri, Kadaha John, and Iddi Mpongo for facilitation of sample collection and Colleen O’Donnell and Jane Fouser for research assistance.

The authors also thank the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes and the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Disclosures: Permission and support to carry out research at Gombe was granted by the Government of Tanzania, Tanzania National Parks, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.


Research Funding:

Grant sponsors: US Fish and Wildlife Great Ape Conservation Fund, Arcus Foundation, Lincoln Park Zoo, Emory University, and University of Illinois.


  • apes
  • gastrointestinal parasites
  • health
  • noninvasive analyses
  • zoonoses

Demographic and Ecological Effects on Patterns of Parasitism in Eastern Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Gombe National Park, Tanzania

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Journal Title:

American Journal of Physical Anthropology


Volume 143, Number 4


, Pages 534-544

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


From January 2006 to January 2008, we collected 1,045 fecal samples from 90 individually-recognized, free-ranging, eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) inhabiting Gombe National Park, Tanzania to determine how patterns of parasitism are affected by demographic and ecological covariates. Seventeen parasite species were recovered, including eight nematodes (Oesophagostomum sp., Necator sp., Probstmayria gombensis, Strongyloides fulleborni, Ascaris sp., Trichuris sp., Abbreviata caucasica, and an unidentified strongyle), 1 cestode (Bertiella sp.), 1 trematode (Dicrocoeliidae), and 7 protozoa (Entamoeba coli, Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, Iodamoeba bütschlii, Troglodytella abrassarti, Troglocorys cava, Balantidium coli, and an unidentified protozoa). Significant differences were observed in interannual infection prevalence and parasite richness between 2006 and 2007. Intercommunity comparisons demonstrated higher prevalence of parasites for the Mitumba compared with Kasekela chimpanzee community. Prevalence of several parasites was strongly correlated with monthly rainfall patterns for both 2006 and 2007. Subadult chimpanzees had lower prevalence for most parasite species compared with adults in both years and also yielded a lower average parasite species richness. No significant differences were observed between males and females in prevalence in 2006. However, in 2007 the prevalence of S. fulleborni and I. bütschlii were higher in males than in females. Parasite prevalence and richness were substantially higher in this multiyear study compared with previous short-term studies of the gastrointestinal parasites of Gombe chimpanzees. This coupled with the significant interannual and interseasonal variation, demonstrated in this study, emphasizes the importance of multiyear monitoring with adequate sample size to effectively determine patterns of parasitism in wild primate populations.

Copyright information:

© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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