Wednesday, May 25, 2011
We woke up at about 5 a.m. this morning to loud and long sounds of thunder...not what you want to hear when you’re looking forward to following chimpanzees. The rain was coming....
Friday, May 20, 2011
After four days, four different planes, and three nights in three different accommodations, we have finally arrived at Gombe.
One of the parts I love most about my job as director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes is overseeing our field projects. We started the Gombe Ecosystem Health Project in 2004 to assess, understand and attempt to mitigate the risks of infectious disease in wild chimpanzees. I’m here for my annual trip to meet with staff and collaborators, bring supplies, gather the past year’s data and assess the current health of the chimpanzees.
It’s always wonderful to return to Gombe and see the staff and chimpanzees that I’ve known for 13 years now. Accompanying me on this trip is my colleague Dr. Kristin Bonnie of Beloit College, who collaborates with us in our studies of ape social learning at the zoo. Kristin has studied chimpanzees for the past 10 years but has never seen them in the wild!
We’ve just gotten ourselves settled this evening in our fourth and final accommodation of the trip and look forward to getting out into the forest to see chimpanzees tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The title applies to both the chimpanzees and myself. Chimpanzees are very curious creatures, as am I. When I’m in the forest, I enjoy the breaks from the daily routine provided by any forest anomalies that pop up. I recently discovered how the chimps are the same way.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This title refers to the Gombe chimpanzee family whose individuals’ names all start with a “G.” Gombe chimpanzees are named using a matrilineal naming system, meaning that the name of the kids begin with the same letter as the name of the mom.
I just began my last month observing Gombe’s chimpanzees. Throughout the month I will be observing all of the mother-infant pairs one last time. It’s both exciting and sad since the infants are not only my research subjects but have encompassed my entire life for two six-month field seasons, from being the topic of dinner conversations to even dreams about following chimps. I watched Gremlin (mom) and Gizmo (1-year-old son) yesterday and that was a reminder to me to keep my promise to write about the “G-Unit.”
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I was planning to write a blog entry about the G-unit (Gremlin, Gaia and their kids) but have delayed that to write about a recent exciting event with the F-family. (In a pun-like way, this entry focuses on one member of the G-unit).
I feel guilty focusing on the “G” and “F” chimps so much, but they are well represented in the community, well-habituated and well… full of personality and things to write about. For example, last year I also wrote an entry when Gremlin and Gaia gave birth to Gizmo and Google. But don’t worry, I will try to be original here and not use phrases like “PANparazzi” 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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