Welcome to Africa! Primate researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have set up camera traps in the jungle, recording thousands of film clips. This material must now be evaluated. As of April 22, International Earth Day, volunteers can watch the material on the new citizen science platform "Chimp & See" and help the primatologists fill in the gaps in the bigger picture. For long periods of time, you may see...nothing whatsoever! Then suddenly a warthog runs through the picture, or you spot a group of chimpanzees lounging in the front of camera, grooming each other.
In tales of adventure, research, and conservation, veteran field researchers and conservationists describe exciting discoveries made over the past few decades about chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas.
In the Disney movie "Chimpanzees", the young chimpanzee Oscar loses his mother Isha, who is killed by a leopard. He finds a strong protector, however, in Freddy, an adult male chimpanzee, who helps him survive in the jungle.
Close encounters with our relatives
Tracking down chimpanzees
Christophe Boesch and his team from the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have been studying chimpanzees living in the wild for over 35 years. What does their research in the jungle consist of? What have they already learned about the remarkable apes and what are they doing to protect these endangered animals? Searching for traces in Taï National Park in Côte D’ Ivoire.
West Africa, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Taï National Park, near the Liberian border: a twelve-hour car ride from the port city of Abidjan, three hours down a dirt road from the nearest village, lies the camp of the Max Planck researchers, in the middle of the tropical rainforest. For more than 30 years, this is where a team of scientists headed by the Swiss primate researcher Christophe Boesch have been studying the chimpanzees native to this jungle. Since 1997 the camp has belonged to the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
For several decades now, the Max Planck scientists from Leipzig have been observing chimpanzees in Taï National Park. In the course of their work, they frequently come upon new and fascinating behavioural traits. Gradually, they are becoming familiar with how the apes live - for example, how they find their way in the dense jungle, make skilful use of tools, hunt together and trade in meat, and chase off leopards.
In the past, it was only possible to provide a rough estimate of the number of chimpanzees still living in the tropical forests and savannahs of Africa. For this reason, field biologists tried to determine the population sizes and their development using more precise methods. Their ultimate aim is to provide effective protection for the animals.