Zoo scientists recording a wild gorilla

Monitoring Ape Behavior

A wild chimpanzee peering through the foilage

Purpose

Over the last 20 years, researchers have discovered new chimpanzee tool-use repertoires, teaching behaviors, and cross-species interactions that have changed human perception of great ape behavior.

About

The long-term goal of research at the the Goualougo Triangle site is to improve the conservation status of African apes and the forests they inhabit by addressing multiple threats to their survival. The Goualougo Triangle is the only place in all of Africa where coexisting chimpanzees and gorillas are habituated to being followed by humans. Over the last 20 years, researchers have discovered new chimpanzee tool-use repertoires, teaching behaviors, and cross-species interactions that have changed human perception of great ape behavior. These findings have also drawn international attention to the site in the form of nature documentaries and donors that support the work.

Observations of individually recognized chimpanzees and gorillas over time is allowing researchers to better understand their respective societies, social structures, interactions, and resource and habitat needs. Using these data sets, researchers can monitor population trends and mitigate detrimental factors, such as deforestation and habitat destruction. At the same time, these undertakings help provide employment to local people and inspire the next generation of Congolese conservationists to protect these endangered species and their forest homes.

Staff

David Morgan, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Co-Director of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
Crickette Sanz, Ph.D.
Adjunct Scientist
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes