Since the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project’s inception, a vast amount of hard copy and digital data have been collected on wild apes and their habitats. It is essential that these observations are archived in a manner that facilitates analysis and timely reporting of our findings to the larger academic and conservation communities. To achieve this goal, we have established a data analysis laboratory at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes.
Video Archival Project
Each day, video footage is generated during reconnaissance surveys and from remote video units at the field site. The video footage provides confirmation of individual identifications, information on group demography, visualization of health observations, and documentation of rare behaviors (such as tool use). Interns at the Fisher Center are transferring these videos to digital storage devices and screening the footage for such observations. To see some of these videos visit our YouTube channel.
Data Entry of Observational Health Monitoring
Health monitoring is an essential aspect of great ape conservation, particularly in the Congo Basin where disease outbreaks have significantly reduced chimpanzee and gorilla populations in recent years. The Goualougo Triangle Ape Project has implemented standardized observational health data collection protocols (developed by researchers studying chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania) and successfully incorporated the Goualougo ape population into the IMPACT database which was originally developed by the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Program but recently adapted by the Lincoln Park Zoo for monitoring the health of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park.
Chimpanzee Tool Use and Social Learning
With the exception of humans, chimpanzees show the most diverse and complex tool using behaviors of all extant species. The Goualougo Triangle Ape Project’s research team is using new research methods to study the tool using behavior of chimpanzees in the dense forests of the Congo Basin. They have discovered complex technological skills among these apes that expand our current perceptions of chimpanzee cognition and material culture. At Lincoln Park Zoo, researchers and students are screening and coding video footage to improve our understanding of the social and ecological factors shaping the complex tool technology of Goualougo’s chimpanzees.