Meet The Team
Judith Phaustus Mbayuwayu
Judi is a graduate of UDSM’s Department of Wildlife Science and Conservation, and later worked for GMERC as an intern in 2017. Judi received sponsorship to begin a MA in Project Management at UDSM in Fall 2019 and completed this work in 2021. She then returned to GMERC to be the project manager. Welcome back, Judi!
Kahana received her Bachelor degree from the College of African Wildlife Management (Mweka) in 2020.Kahana began working with GMERC on our long-term data on chimpanzee consumption of figs, before conducting a three-month internship at Issa in early 2022. He later returned is helping coordinate the broader research agenda.
Chimpanzee Project Leader
Simon been at Issa in January 2017, and is used skills acquired from working in the Bugwe village forest reserve to help him adjust to the work at Issa. In 2020, Simon was promoted to project leader for the chimpanzee research team.
Red-tailed Monkey Project Leader
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.
Phenology Project Leader
Shedrack is our longest-tenured team member. He began work with us in 2007, first on monthly surveys to Issa. He was promoted to permanent field assistant in 2008 and in 2016, as leader of our Phenology .project
Field Assistant - Cercopithecine Project team
Patrick first joined our efforts in 2012 when GMERC led a regional survey to identify priority habitat for chimpanzee conservation. He subsequently began helping us identify red-tailed monkeys and co-leading our camera trap project.
Theresia began with GMERC in 2017 and has been a steady, reliable assistant at camp ever since.
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.
Field Assistant - Chimpanzee Project team
Sadiki began work at GMERC in 2021 and has been an instrumental part of the chimpanzee behavioural ecology team. He also has a keen eye for tree identifications!
Project Leader - Mammal Abundance & Distribution
Ivorda received her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management from Sokoine University of Agriculture in 2021. She began at GMERC as an intern in 2021 but quickly demonstrated her keeness to learn chimpanzee identifications, lead a project into red-tailed feeding ecology, and now is helping Maire Malone and Denise Su (ASU) in their work assessing mammal distribution and abundance.
Primate Intern - 2023
I am Epifania Temu, a Tanzanian and Sokoine University of Agriculture graduate (2022) with a BSc. Environmental Sciences and Management. My wildlife enthusiasm dates back to 2021 as the Ecological Field Assistant at the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre with a major operational focus on primate monitoring, tracking, and camera trapping. I believe that “the welfare of wildlife biodiversity is among other things dependent on and dictated by the ecological suitability and climate favorability”. This drives my interest as GMERC Intern to further chimpanzee habitat conservation strategies via in-depth research (investigation) and analysis of the joint influence of ecological and climatological parameters on the chimpanzee population. In recognition of the wider role of the ecosystem and habitat in rescuing the Threatened Chimpanzee (IUCN Red List), I envision “acting strategizing on Conserving Habitat and halting ecosystem degradation in a changing climate for Chimpanzee and the general biodiversity of the Greater Mahale Ecosystem”.
Deputy Research Coordinator
Monkey Project Leader
Phenology and Camera Trap Project Leader
Chimpanzee project assistant
Team GMERC (credit: Cosmas Mp[ongo/GMERC)
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
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.
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