Gombe Research Highlights of 2022


On July 14, 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall—at the time, just Jane Goodall—stepped foot in what is now Gombe, Tanzania to begin her groundbreaking research into wild chimpanzee behavior. Today, research continues as part of the longest-running wild chimpanzee study in the world. Individual and group behavior at Gombe are closely tracked among two chimpanzee communities: Mitumba and Kasekela. Monthly focal follows occur on an uninterrupted basis according to the model Dr. Goodall began over 60 years ago, in which staff typically spend eight or more hours tracking individual chimpanzees within two separate communities until the animals nest at night.

While the chimpanzees are typically all accounted for, it is also not uncommon for some individuals to leave their groups. Mitumba chimpanzees Edgar and Keaton were not observed in January—turned out it was not the first time Edgar had taken a female on an extended honeymoon! Two Kasekela newborns were observed with new mothers Golden and Eden over the summer. And in February of 2022, Dr. Goodall visited Gombe to spend time in the forest with researchers, creating full circle moments with the past and present of this essential place of curiosity and connection.

In addition, several exciting research papers came out of Gombe studies and were published in 2022, including:

Continued research into the lives of our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom is essential for their protection. You can support researchers in the field by becoming (or gifting) a Gombe Science Hero today!

About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Director of Storytelling & Marketing for Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is pursuing a Master's of Science in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including 10+ years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking organizations, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces including Greens REALIGN. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to transform hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.