Morphometric characterisation of fruits preferred by chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
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Conservation and survival of chimpanzees in their respective habitats requires formulation of interventions that target reducing identified risks associated with dietary choices which tend to be socially maintained. A study was conducted in the month of March 2020 with objectives of characterizing selected fruits fed on by chimpanzees using morphometric parameters and identifying morphometric parameters of fruits that distinguish among selected plant species fed on by chimpanzees in Kibale National Park (KNP). Nine of the wild fruits commonly eaten by chimpanzees were collected these included guava (g), Prunus africana (PA), Ficus vallis (FV), Eudenia emines(EE), Ficus aspera(FA), Cordia abysinnicca (CA),Ficus capensis (FCS), linociera johsonii (LJ) and Ficus carica(FC). The Photographs of all the fruits were captured and the images were transferred to a computer. Images were processed by MATLAB software and numerical results got were loaded into Microsoft excel program for analysis. The properties of the processed images that were quantified to provide morphometric characteristics of the specific images included area, perimeter, minoraxislength and majoraxislength, elongation and roundness. Prunus Africana and Guava had the highest mean roundness and Ficus Aspera fruit had the lowest mean roundness. Guava had the highest perimeter while Prunus Africana had the lowest perimeter. Prunus Africana had the highest mean elongation followed by cairdia abysinnica while Guava and ficus aspera had the lowest mean elongation. Guava fruit had the highest area and cordia abysinnicca had the lowest mean area. The mean difference within the fruits based on roundness and perimeter was not statistically significant while the mean difference based on elongation and area was statistically significant among the fruits. These results indicate that selected plant species fed on by chimpanzees in KNP can be distinguished based on elongation and area of the fruits.