Advantages and disadvantages of different observation methods on a troop of wild olive baboons at a river in Southern Kenya

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

Abstract: Every observation method has its advantages and disadvantages and a well-adopted method gives more reliable results. Factors affecting the choice of the most appropriate methods for recording foraging behaviours include species, group size, environment, seasons and age. The focus for this study was to determine which method is most appropriate for studying the foraging behaviour of a troop of 89 olive baboons (Papio anubis) living in a riverine forest by the Southern Ewaso Ng'iro River by Lale'enok Resource Centre in Kenya. To determine this, a literature study was carried out to compare methods from monkeys and apes. I found instantaneous sampling was the most common method with intervals of 5 minutes in most cited studies. The most appropriate method along with instantaneous sampling was found to be focal animal sampling due to group size and behaviours in question. Seasonal changes can affect the water flow of the Southern Ewaso Ng'iro River, increasing it during the rainy season making it tough for the observers to cross. No articles were found on olive baboons living in riverine forests, showing that more research is needed. In other studies the most common length for collecting data was one to two years. The olive baboons at the Southern Ewaso Ng'iro River were habituated and the observers knew them individually, which made instantaneous focal animal sampling easier to use.

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