Julia Terrien

Seeing the rainforest and savannah in Tanzania, Africa has been an experience of a lifetime.  Experiencing animals in the wild opened my eyes and made me realize if the world does not change there will not be any wild animals left for the next generations to experience.  The first step is educating the people about how their actions effect the environment.  Then, we have to work our way up from the people to the government!  One personís actions are not going to save the wild animals.  It is the actions of the whole world that will make the difference.

 

Mahale  

Today we got to see the different weather conditions of a rainforest.  It started off hot and muggy like usual, but then the thunder rolled in!  We listened to the thunder come closer as we trekked through the forest looking for the chimpanzees.  We got settled watching the chimps when it started raining.  The cool water felt amazing.  Throughout the next hour of observations, we got to see many new behaviors and had the alpha male walk right in fronto of us close enough to touch.  My breath was taken away by not only the thunderstorm, but also how powerful the chimpanzee is. 

We came to Mahale to see the chimpanzees, but in the process, we have seen many other animals such as birds, insects, and small mammals.  We have seen these animals in the forest and along the coast.  It was very interesting to see the diversity of the animals and what niche they are found in. 

With the previous knowledge on chimpanzees, it is exciting to see the behaviors instead of just reading about them.  Not only is it amazing to see the behaviors but it is amazing because you can compare these behaviors with humans and also other chimpanzee groups.  I never really knew how alike humans and chimps are until I met them in the wild and saw their way of life. 

 

Gombe 

Could you imagine seeing baboons swimming in the water?  This is one scene that you may encounter at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa.  Did you know that snails can grow to be the size of your hand?  In the rain forest in Gombe you may be lucky enough to see one.  Gombe is not only about the chimpanzees that were studied by Jane Goodall.  Gombe is an amazing ecosystem with a plethora of species unique to the rain forests of Africa. 

Looking up at the mountain peaks, it was discouraging to think Jane Goodall climbed to the top of one peak every day to locate the chimpanzees when she was doing her research.  The trek to Janeís Peak was very steep with rocks and vines blocking the way.  When you have been hiking for what seems like hours, you are tired, hot, and sweaty.  All of these feelings seem to disappear when you finally arrive to the top and see the view.  A camera picture will never fully capture the awe of the real view.  From Janeís Peak the whole valley below is visible.  Trees are the greenest of greens.  It is amazing to look down and feel like you have accomplished something great. 

There are 106 chimpanzees in three groups at Gombe National Park.  This park is surrounded by farmland and villages.  This means the chimpanzees are not able to migrate out of Gombe.  This is a concern because the genes of the chimpanzees are not very rich in variation.  To combat this problem, the Jane Goodall Institute is trying to create corridors between communities of chimpanzees.  The best way to make these corridors is encouraging the villagers to grow out a part of their farm land specifically for the chimpanzees and educate the villagers on why these corridors are important.  With JGI and the villages, hopefully one day the chimpanzee communities will be able to mix their genes and increase the population. 

 

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.