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Study Examines Foraging of Mountain Gorillas for Sodium-Rich Foods

A new Biotropica study examines mountain gorillas in Rwanda and their foraging for sodium-rich food in both national park areas and lands managed by local communities.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:01 am EDT
"When gorillas raid eucalyptus stands outside the national park, they come in contact with local inhabitants, which puts both ape and human at risk. To discourage the gorillas from crossing into farmlands near the forest, agricultural practices may need to be reconsidered"

A new Biotropica study examines mountain gorillas in Rwanda and their foraging for sodium-rich food in both national park areas and lands managed by local communities.

Obtaining sodium likely creates an incentive for the gorillas to leave park areas and make forays into high-altitude habitat. Both locations are not without risks: exiting their natural habitat and feeding on crops may increase human-wildlife conflict and visiting high-altitude areas may increase the risk of hypothermia.

The results may advance the discussion of how to adapt local human land use to effectively curb human-wildlife conflict.

“When gorillas raid eucalyptus stands outside the national park, they come in contact with local inhabitants, which puts both ape and human at risk. To discourage the gorillas from crossing into farmlands near the forest, agricultural practices may need to be reconsidered,” said lead author Dr. Cyril Grueter, of The University of Western Australia, in Perth. “Ideally one would want to favor plant species that are nutritionally unattractive to the gorillas.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/btp.12598

About Journal

Ranked by the ISI index, Biotropica is a highly regarded source of original research on the ecology, conservation and management of all tropical ecosystems, and on the evolution, behavior, and population biology of tropical organisms. Published on behalf of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation, the journal's Special Issues and Special Sections quickly become indispensable references for researchers in the field. Biotropica publishes timely Papers, Reviews, Commentaries, and Insights. Commentaries generate thought-provoking ideas that frequently initiate fruitful debate and discussion, while Reviews provide authoritative and analytical overviews of topics of current conservation or ecological importance.  The newly instituted category Insights replaces Short Communications.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in education and scholarly research. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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