Meet The Team

Field Assistants

  • Shedrack Lucas

    Senior Field Assistant

    Began work with us in 2007, first on monthly surveys to Issa. He was later promoted to senior field assistant in the summer of 2010.

  • Mariana Marco

    Field Assistant

    Mariana completed Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute (PWTI) and began work with us in June 2017. She learned quickly about the terrain and project procedures, establishing herself as one of our best chimpanzee trackers!

  • Judi Phaustus Mbayawayu

    Field Assistant

    Judi is a graduate of UDSM’s Department of Wildlife Science and Conservation, and worked for GMERC as an intern in 2017. Judi received sponsorship to begin a MA in Project Management at UDSM in Fall 2019.

  • Mashaka Alimas

    Field Assistant

    Mashaka joined us in Fall 2012 after working with Alex & Fiona on the survey of the GME from summer 2011. He has worked  both surveys and at Issa since then.

  • Patrick Hassan

    Field Assistant

    Began work on the GME survey led by Alex and Fiona in February 2012, and worked periodically for us until 2015 when his patience and hard work paid off and he joined permanently!

  • Mlela Juma

    Field Assistant 

    Mlela joined the team in summer 2011 and has been a permanent member ever since. In 2020, Mlela was promoted to project leader for the baboon research team.

  • Mlela Juma

    Field Assistant 

    Mlela joined the team in summer 2011 and has been a permanent member ever since. In 2020, Mlela was promoted to project leader for the baboon research team.

  • Patrick Hassan

    Field Assistant

    Began work on the GME survey led by Alex and Fiona in February 2012, and worked periodically for us until 2015 when his patience and hard work paid off and he joined permanently!

  • Milke Nyamubi 

    Field Assistant

    Milke (Mama Frankie)  began work with us in summer 2014, first as a temporary assistant, and then promoted to permanent later in the year!

  • Baruari Juma 

    Field Assistant

    Baruari began work with the team in 2014, first as a temporary staff member, contributing at Issa and also on surveys to peripheral areas for monitoring of chimpanzee habitat. He joined the permanent team in January 2017.

  • Simon Sungura

    Field Assistant

    Began work at Issa in January 2017, and is using skills acquired from working in the Bugwe village forest reserve to help him adjust to the work at Issa. Simon was promoted to project leader for the chimpanzee research team in 2020.

  • Helana Juma

    Field Assistant

    Joined GMERC in mid 2018 to help us with a growing demand for qualified assistants. Helena adjusted quickly and has proven to be a critical asset to our growing team. Karibu Helena!

  • Theresia Sunzu 

    Field Assistant

    Theresia began with GMERC in 2017 and has been a steady, reliable assistant at camp ever since.

  • Ramadhani Tumaini

    Field Assistant

    Rama first interned with GMERC in 2015, then again in 2018, where he worked closely with Christopher Lile to investigate red-tailed feeding ecology. He joined permanently in January 2020 as leader for the red-tailed monkey project.

  • Shida Rarent Malirtabu 

    Field Assistant

    Shida, also known as Kidosi, worked with Noemie Bonnin and Adrienne Chitayat in 2017-18 helping survey around Harembe Village Forest before joining GMERC in 2019. He is part of the chimpanzee research team.

  • Sadiki Abeid

    Field Assistant

    Sadiki joined GMERC from Dar es Salaam in mid 2019, and permanently in 2020 was part of our chimpanzee research team.

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In Their Words

Use the audio bars to hear what our team have to say!

All audio is in their native language, KiSwahili.

I was selected by my village to train and learn at Pasiansi Wildlife Institute in Mwanza

 Mariana describes her path to becoming a village forest scout 

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Shedrack Lukas (left) on the history of GMERC, from the very origins in 2008!

When we began, there were only 5 of us, Alex, Fiona, and 2 of my colleagues.

We were a very small team in those days.

Mashaka Alimas (right) on his personal journey and how he ended up with GMERC back in 2011

I began work with chimpanzees on Kalobwe Mountain, near my village. In the early days, we used bananas to habituate chimpanzees. We learned since then that there are dangers to provisioning, and in time they can learn to tolerate researcher presence, like at Issa.

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The forests is critical. Without the forests, there are no animals, there are no plants. Wildlife and people rely on these forests, these plants, these resources. In short, without the forests, there is no life.

Yahya Abeid (centre, front row)- a botanist who has worked in the Issa Valley since 1999 - describes the importance of botany to forest conservation

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