Tag Archives: chimpanzee

Song of the apes

Time to mix it up! How about a book review? Today I am going to be reviewing the book “The Song of the Ape: Understanding the Language of the Chimpanzee” by Andrew Halloran, who also just so happens to be leading my field work in Sierra Leone! Now he didn’t ask me to read his book and write this review or anything like that, but I am taking a linguistics class and it seemed to go along nicely with what I was learning! So if this sounds interesting to you, go get yourself a copy! It’s available online on the kindle store!

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tonkolili chimpanzee project

I am so excited to finally announce that I will be spending three magnificent weeks in Sierra Leon observing chimpanzees this summer. It has been a while since I published a personal post, since I have been waiting to hear back from a few different institutions regarding my future in primatology. But now that I am pumped full of excitement and vaccines, I think that it is safe to share a little bit about the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project in the Tonkolili District of Sierra Leon in Western Africa.

Chimpanzees in Sierra Leon. Photo courtesy of the Arcus Foundation.
Chimpanzees in Sierra Leon. Photo courtesy of the Arcus Foundation.

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requirements require updates

I’ll say it. I have now decided to give myself the title ‘former zookeeper’ because the more I examine zoo’s and the way they operate the less I am satisfied. Most zoos put their animals first, most zoos put most of their animals first, but really, I’ve learned that its a department to department kind of thing. I’ve seen departments who really value and I’ve seen places that are more likely to put the people’s experience before their animals welfare.

This photo is from the San Antonio Zoo, the ONLY U.S. Zoo to make it to the list of top 10 worst zoos in the world.
This photo is from the San Antonio Zoo, the ONLY U.S. Zoo to make it to the list of top 10 worst zoos in the world.

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long awaited retirement

The National Institute of Health is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world and is comprised of almost 30 centers. Wednesday, June 26, NIH announced that they would be retiring 310 government owned chimpanzees.

Photo from NIH
Photo from NIH

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a ray of hope for captive chimpanzees

Chimpanzees share 98% of our DNA, they have complex relationships, raise their young, wage wars, have friendships, alliances and enemies. They have extensive tool use and even have intricate means of communication. As far as I knew, they were endangered species. I mean, this is what IUCN’s website and even WWF will tell you. But today I learned that that was only applicable to free-living chimpanzees. This means that chimpanzees in captivity are listed as threatened. Maybe this doesn’t seem so bad, until you realize that that is the loophole that allows them to be test subjects and live in labs, in often, sub-par conditions.

Photo from WWF
Photo from WWF

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a day in the life…

Of a chimpanzee researcher at Gombe National Park. Does Gombe sound familiar to you?? Well, if not, it should. Gombe is where Jane Goodall began her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees, or Pan troglodytes. 

Photo from National Geographic
Photo from National Geographic

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