The Gombe Stream Research Center was founded in 1965 to advance Jane Goodall’s revolutionary findings about chimpanzee tool-making and other behaviors.
It also is a living laboratory, home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees. The Center’s mission is to operate a world-class research station in which the best available methods are used to continue and further develop the long-term primate research projects begun by Dr. Jane Goodall, and to advance basic science, support conservation, and train Tanzanian scientists.
Thanks to National Geographic and other television specials about Jane, Jane’s books about the Gombe chimps, and countless writings about her life and work, Gombe’s chimpanzees are known the world over. The most familiar to the public are the “F” family chimpanzees, a family line headed by the old matriarch Flo, who upon her death was the subject of an obituary in the London Times.
In more recent years, the world has come to know a pair who may be unique in the natural world – the chimpanzee twins, Golden and Glitter. Twin chimpanzees generally don’t survive in the wild, but Golden and Glitter had the advantage of a doting older sister, Gaia, who helped her mother Gremlin raise the two girls.
The twins and Gombe’s other chimpanzees are followed daily by JGI’s staff of Tanzanian researchers. The longitudinal study they continue furthers our understanding of chimpanzee diet, range use, intergroup aggression, health, and other areas of interest. These areas in turn inform chimpanzee conservation strategies.
The Center also hosts a regular stream of visiting researchers who conduct both basic and applied research, exploring areas such as, relationships between fathers and offspring or female social status and range use. One of the critical studies currently underway is led by Dr. Beatrice Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hahn seeks to understand the natural history of HIV by looking at the factors causing transmission of the closely related simian immunodeficiency virus.