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.
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.
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.
Film footage from Taï National Park
Tobias Deschner, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, captured the apes on film as part of his research work in Taï National Park. The results can be seen in these short, fascinating film clips.
A chimpazee is fishing ants
Accomplished toolmakers: A chimpazee is cracking nuts
Grooming in chimpanzees: Mutual grooming strengthens social cohesion.