Field Assistants & Technicians

Sergio (left) and Verinca (right), two of the many rangers we have worked with in Gorongosa National Park - photograph by Lynn Lewis-Bevan

Sergio (left) and Verinca (right), two of the many rangers we have worked with in Gorongosa National Park - photograph by Lynn Lewis-Bevan

​The Rangers of Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

Approximately 260 trained rangers are employed by Gorongosa National Park to protect the environment from threats such as illegal logging and wildlife trade. Those of us that conduct research in Mozambique as part of the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa are greatly supported by these rangers. For safety reasons, all researchers working in the Park must be accompanied by a ranger when on foot in the field, and since we spend a great deal of our time in the field on foot (be this following primates, excavating fossils sites, conducting surveys, or otherwise), our research would simply not be possible without them. Many of the rangers are from the local area and are hugely knowledgeable about the Park and its wildlife, the environments in which we work, and provide valuable insight about how to navigate conducting fieldwork within the at times challenging landscape. They often share valuable knowledge and insights about the site’s flora and fauna, for example assisting in identifying tree species during surveys and sharing what local communities may use them for. In 2018, a documentary film highlighting the Gorongosa Rangers was released: Na Linha da Frente: Os Fiscais do Parque Nacional da Gorongosa (On the Front Line: The Rangers of Gorongosa National Park). You can read more about the important work of the rangers and watch a trailer for the documentary here. We are inspired by their hard work and dedication to protecting Gorongosa and its people, and their knowledge of the Park and its wildlife which is instrumental to our research. We are in the process of creating individual profiles for the rangers that we have worked with most frequently in Gorongosa National Park and look forward to sharing more of these below soon.

Gonçalves Verinca, Gorongosa National Park ranger - photographed by João d'Oliveira Coelho in his ranger uniform smiling in front of a woodland backdrop

​Gonçalves Verinca

Verinca has been a ranger at Gorongosa National Park since 1995. He is passionate about the conservation of biodiversity and finds the most challenging aspect of monitoring such biodiversity to be coming to terms with the reality that there are others that want to destroy it. Thanks to the efforts of Verinca and his fellow rangers, the number of individuals of various species in Gorongosa National Park has increased – their work is essential to the conservation of the ecosystem. Verinca has worked with a number of our Lab members helping them to habituate and study baboon and vervet monkey troops in Gorongosa, as well as assisting with the paleontological side of research at the excavation sites. He enjoys this work as he believes it will allow a new generation to learn more about the animals that existed far back in time and hopes the findings can be used to create an education centre to allow people to see these fossils for themselves. Verinca is originally from the town of Inhaminga in Cheringoma district, but now lives in Dondo district. His principal language is Sena. Verinca’s family is very proud of his profession as a ranger.

​Daniel Maveneco Mamenhane

Maveneco has been a ranger in Gorongosa National Park since 2005 and says his favourite part of his profession is accompanying scientists, tourists, and colleagues in the field. The most difficult part is walking in the bush with the challenge of dangerous animals. With his experience, Maveneco has learnt much about the wildlife of the local area and the rules pertaining to forests – knowledge which we are very appreciative of when we carry out research in the Park. In turn, Mavenco tells us he enjoys assisting and learning with us about areas of research he wasn’t previously aware of. Maveneco is originally from Gaza Province and the district of Manjacaza, but now lives in Metuchira in Nhamatanda district. His main language is Changana.

Bossou field assistant Henry Camara stood in front of a green sign that reads "CORRIDOR VERT {1903 3 Ha} BOSSOU-MONTS NIMBA COLLABORATION ETRE GUINEE ET JAPON DEPUIS JANVIER 1997 IREB. KUPRI"

​Henry Didier Camara

[EN] Henry has been a field assistant at Bossou since 2003, and is the expert on the botany of the Bossou forest, especially the plants that chimpanzees like to eat. He is also a skilled GPS operator and is developing his skills in GIS. He is interested in employing these skills to better understand the relationship between chimpanzees and their environment. He graduated from the National Forestry School (ENAFET - Ecole Nationale des Agents des Eaux et Forêts) in 2012 and is currently doing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Community Development in N’zerekore (UDECOM - Université du Développement communautaire de N'zérékoré). In 2016 and 2017, Henry attended conferences in Kyoto (Japan) and Kinshasa (DRC) where he presented on the work of the Bossou field team. Henry plans to continue his studies and obtain a PhD so he can represent his country in the international primatology community. He is also actively involved in the ongoing research project in the nearby Nimba Mountains, coordinating logistics and data collection for the bimonthly survey expeditions.
 
[FR] Henry est guide à Bossou depuis 2003. Il est l'expert de la botanique de la forêt de Bossou, en particulier des plantes que les chimpanzés aiment manger, et aussi un opérateur GPS habile en train de développer ses compétences en SIG. Henry souhaite utiliser ces connaissances pour mieux comprendre la relation entre les chimpanzés et leur environnement. En 2012, il est diplômé par l'Ecole Nationale des Agents des Eaux et Forêts (ENAFET), et effectue actuellement un Bachelor en Sciences de l'Environnement à l'Université de Développement Communautaire de N'zérékore (UDECOM). En 2016 et 2017, Henry a assisté à des conférences à Kyoto (Japon) et Kinshasa (RDC) où il a présenté le travail de l'équipe de terrain de Bossou. Henry envisage de poursuivre ses études et obtenir un doctorat afin de pouvoir représenter son pays dans la communauté internationale de la primatologie. Il est aussi actif dans le projet de recherche du Mont Nimba, coordonnant la logistique et la collecte de données pour les expéditions bimensuelles d'enquête.

Field assistant Cé Vincent Mami photpgraphed carrying a tripod in Bossou during filming of the documentary featuring chimps of Bossou, taken by Kalyanee Mam

​Cé Vincent Mami

[EN] Vincent is the most recent addition to the Bossou field team. He started work in 2010 and is a keen learner. He enjoys observing the chimpanzees of Bossou and is curious about understanding their behaviour. Vincent is attentive to detail, and is expert at operating the video camera and  writing down detailed notes on both the extraordinary and day-to-day behaviours of the chimpanzee community. In 2017, he assisted a visiting film crew with their cinematography operations for a short documentary film featuring the chimpanzees of Bossou. The film premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival (DCEFF) in 2020 and can be viewed here.

 

[FR] Vincent est le plus récent ajout à l'équipe de Bossou. Il a commencé à travailler en 2010 et est un apprenant passionné. Il aime observer les chimpanzés de Bossou et est curieux de comprendre leur comportement. Vincent est attentif aux détails et un expert opérateur de filmage vidéo et de rédiger des notes détaillées sur les comportements extraordinaires et quotidiens de la communauté des chimpanzés. En 2017, il a assisté une équipe de tournage en visite dans leurs opérations cinématographiques pour un court métrage documentaire avec les chimpanzés de Bossou. Le film a été présenté en première au DC Environmental Film Festival (DCEFF) en 2020 et peut être visionné ici.


Bossou field assistant Gouanou Zogbila photographed holding a GPS-tracked stone tool used by chimpanzees for nut-cracking

​Gouanou (Gouano) Zogbila

[EN] Gouanou joined the Bossou team in 2009. He is in charge of weekly camera trap data collection and monitoring, and is a skilled GPS operator. In 2017 and 2018, Gouanou mapped all human-made trails and conducted an extensive survey on the distribution and quality of oil palm trees throughout the Bossou forest. He also helped with the deployment and monitoring of GPS-tracked stone tools used by chimpanzees for nut-cracking for a project funded by the National Geographic Society. Currently, Gouanou is involved in the ongoing research project in the nearby Nimba Mountains, leading a small survey team on bimonthly expeditions to record chimpanzee presence, biodiversity and human activity. As team leader, he manages survey activities on the ground and is helping to train team members in using new technologies such as digital data collection, GPS and camera trap operation.

 

[FR] Gouanou a rejoint l'équipe de Bossou en 2009. Il est chargé de la collecte et de la surveillance hebdomadaires des données des caméra-pièges et est un opérateur GPS expert. En 2017 et 2018, Gouanou a cartographié toutes les pistes faites par l’homme et mené une enquête approfondie sur la distribution et la qualité des palmiers à huile dans la forêt de Bossou. Il a également contribué au déploiement et à la surveillance d'outils en pierre suivis par GPS utilisés par les chimpanzés pour le concassage de noix pour un projet financé par la National Geographic Society. Actuellement, Gouanou est engagé dans un projet de recherche en cours dans les montagnes voisines de Nimba, menant une petite équipe d'enquête sur des expéditions bimensuelles pour enregistrer la présence de chimpanzés, la biodiversité et l'activité humaine. En tant que chef d'équipe, il gère les activités d'enquête sur le terrain et contribue à former les membres de l'équipe à utiliser des nouvelles technologies comme la collecte de données en format digital, le GPS et le fonctionnement des caméra-pièges.


Bossou field assistant Boniface Zogbila

​Boniface Zogbila

[EN] Boniface has been working as a field assistant in Bossou since 2000. He is specialised in video documentation in the outdoor laboratory, where many nut-cracking experiments have been conducted over the years. Boniface is also the team coordinator of the Green Corridor project. The project, founded in 1997, is a collaboration between the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI), the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB) and local communities, which seeks to re-establish a wildlife passage between the Bossou forest and the nearby Nimba mountains through reforestation. Boniface helps manage work on the plant nurseries, the plantation of saplings, and maintenance of a firebreak to ensure the new trees are protected from fire in the dry season. Boniface’s father, Tino Camara, was one the first field assistants of Bossou (1982-1997), and his brother, Gouanou Zogbila, is also a field assistant.

 

[FR] Boniface travaille comme guide de Bossou depuis 2000. Il est spécialisé dans la documentation vidéo dans le laboratoire extérieur, où de nombreuses expériences de concassage de noix ont été menées. Boniface est le coordinateur de l'équipe du projet Corridor Vert. Le projet, fondé en 1997, est une collaboration entre le Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI), l'Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB) et les communautés locales, qui cherche le reboisement d’un passage faunique entre la forêt de Bossou et les montagnes voisines de Nimba. Boniface aide à gérer les travaux sur les pépinières, la plantation de jeunes arbres et l'entretien d'un coupe-feu pour s'assurer que les nouveaux arbres sont protégés du feu pendant la saison sèche. Le père de Boniface, Tino Camara, a été l’un des premiers guides de Bossou (1982-1997), et son frère, Gouanou Zogbila, est aussi assistant de terrain.