Applying a cross-disciplinary approach to enhance the integration of human livelihoods and the conservation of the elusive chimpanzees from Gola Rainforest National Park, Sierra Leone

Principal researcher: Christian Howell

Research group: Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography


Primates | Hunting | Human-primate interface | Anthropogenic environments

Funding Institution

Primate Conservation, Inc


NOVA FCSH; Exeter University



Start date


End date



PCI# 1690


Great ape populations are being increasingly exposed to humans and their activities, such as hunting and deforestation, leading to population decline. Great apes are being forced to rely on their behavioural flexibility to respond to human impacts or face local extinction. Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP), harbours an important population of Critically Endangered western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) that are subject to various human threats. However, data are lacking concerning chimpanzee responses to these scenarios. My project examines such behavioural modification by chimpanzees across GRNP’s landscape in response to patterns of anthropogenic and ecological factors. By employing multiple ecological survey techniques, I will combine information on chimpanzee abundance, ranging behaviour and grouping patterns with the suitability of GNRP’s landscape to support chimpanzee populations alongside impacts of local communities. This valuable information will unravel the environmental factors that contribute to the increased loss of chimpanzee populations across West Africa’s anthropogenic landscapes.


Associated researchers

Kimberley Hockings

Full members

Tânia Minhós