Study the complex societies of Africa’s iconic great apes

Chimps playing

The social lives and societies of chimpanzees and gorillas in the Ndoki Forests differ from those of other studied populations across equatorial Africa. Research at Goualougo and Mondika field sites are addressing underlying factors which have led to the emergence and promoted the maintenance of the behavioral diversity in these great apes.

Studies at these two field sites hold important insights for elucidating the role of ultimate and proximate forces in primate evolutionary history, which aid in constructing valid models of human evolution with insights gained from our closest living relatives. Goualougo is the only field site in all Africa where both gorillas and chimpanzees are habituated to human observers.

Long-term observational studies of known individual chimpanzees and gorillas are crucial to addressing questions related to sociality, reproductive success, kin selection, resource use, competition and tool-use at Goualougo and Mondika. Several teams of research assistants and expert field guides follow the apes habituated to the presence of humans. All behavioral and ecological data are collected on smart phones while health information is recorded on Ipads using the Animal Observer App ( The Goualougo and Mondika research team’s implementation of standardized field monitoring protocols have already yielded new insights on gorilla socioecology, ranging, intergroup interactions, ape health, and habitat use.

Gorilla carrying baby

Group of gorillas

Animal Observer

An iPad app designed to collect behavioral and health data