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Fruits’ Nutrient Composition and Their Influence on Consumption by Chimpanzees in Kalinzu Forest, South Western Uganda

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: This study determined the influence of nutritional fruit content on their consumption by chimpanzees in Kalinzu forest. Fruits consumption frequencies were obtained from analysis of chimpanzee faecal samples picked over a period of two years. Fruit content was analyzed using freeze dried fresh samples using standard techniques. Musanga leo-errerae (76.14 ), Ficus spp (66.05 ) and (18.68 ) were the most commonly eaten fruits of all faecal samples (N = 2683). Generally, fruit consumption increased for fruits with total phenols and tannins below 1 per gram except for Musanga leo-errerae, Uvariopsis congoensis and Aframomum angustifolium. Multiple regression revealed that of the 15 nutrient parameters investigated, only calcium, tannins, crude fat, protein and energy content of the fruits that constitute the major food components for basic animal body needs and functioning of energy, body building and a healthy skeleton significantly predicted 76.86 of consumption (R2 = 76.86 ; P = 0.019). However, the fact that some of the most eaten fruits like Aframomum angustifolium and Musanga leo-errerae were recorded to have the highest amounts in tannins shows that there must be additional factors into play. Other than fruit availability, consideration of effect of fruit size and handling within the existing models of chimpanzees’ diet could hence enhance further the understanding of fruit consumption.

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