Epidemiological Significance of Parasitic Infections in Olive Baboons (Papio anubis) at Gombe National Park, Tanzania

Jared S. Bakuza


Several parasites of significant health importance have been observed in baboons at Gombe National Park in western Tanzania.  However, little is known on impacts these infections have on baboon health. Baboon stools were examined for parasites using formol-ethyl technique and their health and troop membership associated with parasitic infections. Observed nematode parasites were; Streptopharagus sp., Physaloptera sp., unidentified nematodes, hookworms and Trichuris sp. Trematode parasites included Schistosoma mansoni and unidentified trematode, with the latter’s intensity being highest in DB troop baboons. Parasite egg counts (epg) for nematodes ranged from 9 to 12, and that of trematodes from 4 to 40 epg. Trichuris sp. was most prevalent while Streptopharagus sp. was least common.  Female baboons in crab-feeding C troop had significantly lower body weight than others (p < 0.05). The present observation of schistosomiasis in Gombe baboons suggests the disease may have been maintained among the animals since its introduction in the park in the 1980s. Baboons in C and DB troops in Gombe are most likely infected with food-borne unidentified trematodes. For years, the baboons have remained constant in size and are emaciated and weak-looking suggesting that there is probably a link between the parasites and the animals’ poor health.  
Keywords: Parasitic infections, baboon health, trematodes, Gombe.

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