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Chimpanzees have been listed on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species for over three decades, and have been recognised as an endangered species since 1996 as their populations continue to decline.


The future of this endangered species is uncertain and urgency to protect their habitat is acute. While chimpanzees are important in their own right, they also serve as a key umbrella species for many other plants and animals that live in this dry forest. 


By protecting chimpanzee habitat, we will protect functioning ecosystems and the diversity of natural resources that bring value to people.

Piel and Stewart participated in a 2011 workshop in Dar es Salaam to develop a Tanzanian Conservation Action Plan for chimpanzees, identifying  key threats throughout chimpanzee range in Tanzania.

Image by Tarryn Myburgh

Tanzanian Conservation Action Plan

Key Threats

1. Conversion of chimpanzee habitat into food crops and nonfood crop agricultural land

2. Incompatible extraction of firewood and logging for timber

3. Incompatible development and expansion of settlements and infrastructure

4. Incompatible human-ignited fires

5. Incompatible charcoal production

6. Disease due to pathogens introduced by humans and human activities



Anti-Poaching at GMERC

We have hosted Government-led patrols in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute since 2009

We conduct periphery area surveys to provide intelligence on increases in illegal activity

Our efforts represent a joint GMERC-Government interest in protecting wildlife and its habitat


Survey Work

At GMERC, a key contribution that can make is to provide important data on chimpanzee distribution and abundance and feed these results to government decision makers. Our survey efforts began in 2011 and have continued regularly since then. Publications that reported findings from survey efforts across the Greater Mahale Ecosystem include those that focused on monkey distribution across the GME , on chimpanzee habitat connectivity and gene flow, and temporal changes in chimpanzee abundance.

     Currently, and with support from the Arcus Foundation and Frankfurt Zoological Society, we are returning to the broader ecosystem to assess key habitat corridors for chimpanzees. See here to follow the 2023-2024 survey!


A survey team (with porters) heads into the Ntakata Mountains to survey a key area for extra-park chimpanzees.

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