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Managing a speared alpha male chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) in Kibale National Park, Uganda
  1. D. Hyeroba, BVM, MSc1,
  2. P. Apell, BVM, MSc1 and
  3. E. Otali, PhD2
  1. Jane Goodall Institute, Plot 24, Lugard Avenue Entebbe, Uganda
  2. Kibale Chimpanzee Project, c/o Makerere University Biological Station, Fort Portal, Uganda
  1. E-mail for correspondence dhyeroba{at}yahoo.com

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HUMAN-inflicted injuries are estimated to affect nearly 25 per cent of the chimpanzee population in Uganda. The most common form of such injury is snaring (Waller 1995, Stokes and Byrne 2000). Snares or traps that are set in chimpanzee habitats are normally intended for other species such as small antelopes (Ohashi and Matsuzawa 2010). Occasionally, people living adjacent to chimpanzees deliberately set traps or launch direct attacks against chimpanzees (Wrangham and others 2000). Chimpanzees are an endangered species and chimpanzee tracking by tourists is a source of foreign income in Uganda (Sugiyama and Soumah 1988, Johns 1995). Efforts to intervene in the case of chimpanzees that have human-caused injuries are therefore justified. The experiences described in this report provide examples of the challenges of administering veterinary care to free-ranging apes, as well as the potential benefits.

KNP is a conservation area in Uganda located 35 km south-east of Fort Portal (Struhsaker 1997) that has an estimated population of 1200 to 1400 chimpanzees consisting of non-habituated and habituated groups. There are three habituated communities of chimpanzees (Kanyawara, Ngogo and Kanyanchu). The habituated communities are used for research or tourism. In May 2009, following a crop raid, the alpha male (Imoso) in the Kanyawara research community was speared by hunters. The attack on the animal was witnessed by researchers …

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