Feeding ecology of olive baboons (Papio anubis) in Kibale National Park, Uganda.
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Baboons (genus Papio) are one of the most studied primates but with most studies being on baboons in Savannah habitats while little is known about baboon ecology in forests. Baboons are ecologically flexible and generalist feeders yet selective in choice of diet. Insufficient information on the plants consumed by baboons hinders appropriate conservation measures. This study was designed to assess the feeding ecology of olive baboons in Kibale National Park. As a preliminary step to broaden the knowledge of baboon foraging strategies, I describe the diet of forest-living olive baboons ( Papio anubis) from Kanyawara section of KNP, Uganda. Direct observations were used for the study. Data was collected for 3 weeks on a habituated group of olive baboons. The baboons were followed daily for 5 hours starting from 7:00am to 12:00 noon during which time, food plant species and parts consumed were recorded. Data was analysed using correlation coefficient. The results indicate high diversity and abundance of food items for baboons in the study area. The Olive baboons had a diverse diet exploiting 29 wild plant species, 1 invertebrate and 15 crop plants. Plant species utilized mostly by baboons include; Afromomum melegueta, Olyra latifola, Palisota schweinfurthii, Acalypha ornate, Marantochloa leucantha, and Diospyros abyssinica. Plant parts eaten include fruits, seeds, flowers, pith, gum, corms and root bark. The correlation coefficient value (r= 0.92) for availability and food utilization by olive baboons is indication of the direct relationship.