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Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Tutaonana Tena (Until We See Each Other Again)
Well, we have wrapped up our work in the park and are getting ready to make the long journey home. The visit was quite successful—I managed to meet with all the relevant staff I had planned to, and the project continues to run smoothly with the help of our in-country partners.
On our last day out in the forest, we went out looking for chimpanzees and passed a rather famous spot known as “Jane’s Peak.”
This is where, in the early days, Jane Goodall would sit and try to spot chimpanzees through her binoculars. At the time, they weren’t used to humans, but they gradually habituated to this young woman who would sit in the same spot every day.
These days, tourists, students and researchers alike visit Jane’s Peak to get a sense of what those early days of the Gombe study were like. On this day, we passed by a very beautiful and serene baboon who was relaxing in a tree that hung out over the valley. We stayed with him for a little while and then continued our search for chimpanzees.
Shortly after, we found Gremlin and her kids Gimli and Gizmo and spent an hour observing their behavior and health. They even attempted a tool-use behavior known as “termite-fishing,” which I am quite familiar with, since it was the focus of my Ph.D. research. However, May is a bit early in the season for termites, so their efforts went largely unrewarded.
After returning from the forest, I set about saying my goodbyes to the wonderful staff that I have known for many years. However, in Tanzania, you don’t really say “goodbye.” You say “Tutaonana tena—until we see each other again.”
Gombe Field Diaries
Lincoln Park Zoo is partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute to study and conserve chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, the site of Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research. Our Gombe field diaries feature updates as scientists monitor chimpanzee health, study ape behavior and experience life in Gombe.
As director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lonsdorf leads Lincoln Park Zoo efforts in Gombe National Park.
Rachel Santymire, Ph.D.
An endocrinologist in the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, Santymire studies stress and reproduction in Gombe's chipmanzees.
A graduate student in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, Matt is studying how levels of play in Gombe¹s chimpanzees influence stress, development and reproductive success.
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