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
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.
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