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Living at the interface

Human–chimpanzee competition, coexistence and conflict in Africa

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Human–wildlife interactions have existed for thousands of years, however as human populations increase and human impact on natural ecosystems becomes more intensive, both parties are increasingly being forced to compete for resources vital to both. Humans can value wildlife in many contexts promoting coexistence, while in other situations, such as crop-raiding, wildlife conflicts with the interests of people. As our closest phylogenetic relatives, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in particular occupy a special importance in terms of their complex social and cultural relationship with humans. A case study is presented that focuses on the Bossou chimpanzees' (Pan troglodytes verus) perspective of their habitat in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, by highlighting the risks and opportunities presented by a human-dominated landscape, and detailing their day-to-day coexistence with humans. Understanding how rural people perceive chimpanzees and how chimpanzees adapt to living in anthropogenic environments will enhance our understanding of how people-wildlife interactions develop into situations of conflict and therefore can generate sustainable solutions to prevent or mitigate situations of conflict.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems

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