This tour includes a tax-deductible donation to the Kibale Chimpanzee Project. Limited spots are still available. Read more about this exciting tour here: African Genesis_Uganda
Our partner organization, The Kasiisi Project, has launched a beautiful new website! Now is a great time to highlight the important work they do to help Ugandan schoolchildren in the area around Kibale National Park. Recognizing the wide range of impediments for rural children to succeed in school and make it out of poverty, The Kasiisi Project works on multiple fronts. Programs start with the fundamentals of providing safe and adequate school buildings, supplying books and materials, training teachers, promoting literacy, and funding scholarships for higher education. They extend to fostering student nutrition, health, and hygiene both through practical measures and through educational programs to keep kids coming to school. Children are supported from nursery school through to college (a Kasiisi graduate was just accepted to Harvard University!). Conservation is an important part of the Kasiisi Project’s objectives. Students and their families receive training and materials to foster sustainable energy use and alternatives to exploiting the forest. And, of course, chimpanzee and forest conservation are a focal part of learning (and fun!) throughout the program.
Due to Ugandan cultural views, which place the eating of apes as taboo, chimpanzees in Kibale National Park are thankfully free of poaching pressure. However, our chimpanzees face a continuing threat of getting caught in wire snares placed (illegally) by local hunters to trap other wildlife, such as duikers and bushpigs. Kibale Chimpanzee Project field manager Emily Otali and chimpanzee Max (pictured above) were recently featured in a Science Magazine highlight of the snaring problem. Read the article here. You can also read more about the snaring problem and other conservation issues under our Conservation tab.
The Kibale Chimpanzee Project is a long-term field study of the behavior, ecology, and physiology of wild chimpanzees. Our researchers and field staff conduct daily behavioral observations on a group of ~50 chimpanzees in the Kibale National Park in southwestern Uganda. This research provides key contributions to understanding primate behavioral diversity, tracing the evolution of human biology and behavior, and conserving chimpanzees and their habitat.
At the end of 2010, the Kanyawara community maintained a group size of more than 50 individuals. Despite the fact that they live in disturbed mid-altitude forest on the edge of the national park, where they are vulnerable to human predation and exposed to various sources of human disease, this is the same community size as when the study began, more than 2 decades ago. The Kanyawara experience shows that even in the face of substantial human influence, chimpanzees living in sub-optimal habitat can thrive. We believe that conservation education and the presence of a long-term research station have contibuted to the success of this population. Pictured are members of the KCP research and anti-poaching teams.
Kanyawara chimpanzees were featured in the May 2010 issue of Ranger Rick magazine. The article teaches children about chimpanzee social life from the perspective of a developing infant. Thanks to photographer Suzi Esterhas for such an excellent job capturing the faces of the Kanyawara chimpanzees.
Sex differences in chimpanzees’ use of sticks as play objects resemble those of children. Sonya M Kahlenberg and Richard W. Wrangham (2010). Current Biology 20: R1067-R1068
Sex differences in children’s toy play are robust and similar across cultures. Evidence for biological factors is controversial but mounting. In this paper, we present the first evidence of sex differences in use of play objects in a wild primate, in chimpanzees. We find that juveniles tend to carry sticks in a manner suggestive of rudimentary doll play and, as in children and captive monkeys, this behavior is more common in females than in males.
- Read coverage of this study in BBC Wildlife Magazine