Watching Wild Gorillas and Chimpanzees
Zoo researchers in the Republic of Congo’s Goualougo Triangle study chimpanzees and gorillas in one of the most untouched ecosystems on earth. An extensive network of 65 “camera traps” lets field scientists record ape behavior and tool use throughout the 95,000-acre site, increasing our understanding of these complex animals.
Before it can spur new findings, though, the video footage from the camera traps has to be watched! Researchers at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes are leading the review with the Goualougo Video Lab.
Scientists there are studying 7 terabytes of field footage, collating, analyzing and recording data directly from the Goualougo Triangle. In doing so, they’re working with researchers in the Republic of Congo to paint a current picture of life for chimpanzees and gorillas in this pristine native landscape.
What are some Goulaougo Video Lab projects?
Footage from the field lets zoo scientists identify apes, observe social interactions and record instances of tool use in the canopy, such as leaf sponging and honey pounding.
IMPACT Health Database
Zoo scientists enter health data from the Goualougo site into a larger database of wild great apes. Regular records of chimpanzee health help create a baseline understanding of health in the field and offer the opportunity to compare Goualougo chimpanzees with chimpanzees at other wild field sites, such as Tanzania’s Gombe National Park.
Videos from camera traps set up at termite mounds let Fisher Center scientists get some of the clearest recorded looks at wild chimpanzee termite fishing. One exciting new finding? Chimpanzees in the Goualougo Triangle will share tools with each other!