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

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date





Great ape populations are exposed to humans and their activities, such as hunting and deforestation, causing population decline. Great apes are relying on their behavioural flexibility to respond to human impacts or face local extinction. Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP) harbours na important population of 'CRITICALLY ENDANGERED' western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus), subjected to various human threats. Data are lacking concerning the generation of human threats and chimpanzee responses. Examining behavioural modification by chimpanzees across GRNP’s landscape in response to patterns of anthropogenic and ecological factors, this project will improve chimpanzee conservation management plans. Using a cross-disciplinary, mixed-methods approach, I will combine local human perceptions with information on chimpanzee abundance, ranging behaviour, grouping patterns, and the suitability of GNRP’s landscape to support chimpanzee populations alongside impacts of local communities. This crucial information will enable targeted conservation management plans to be developed that are sustainable for sympatric human and chimpanzee populations.


Full members

Tânia Minhós

Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography