Our Research & Science

Our Research & Science

Science is where we started—and it still tells us where we’re going.

From the beginning, science has been core to the Jane Goodall Institute’s work. We continue to build on the legendary scientific contributions of Dr. Jane Goodall with our field research at Gombe, our chimpanzee sanctuary in Tchimpounga, and community-centered conservation work around the world. Each advance we make in the use of science and technology illuminates new next steps and allows us to better protect the web of life that connects all living things.

Today, we’re using science and technology in ways that were impossible only a decade ago. We hone in on locations for conservation, assess the state of habitat, and track progress in restoring the land to viable chimpanzee habitat.

Leading the world’s longest-running chimpanzee field research

JGI’s research continues the world’s longest-running field research on chimpanzees, which Dr. Goodall began in Gombe in 1960. Today, our work at Gombe expands on the largest scientific knowledge base on chimpanzees, serving primatologists around the world. This research provides ever-new insight into the daily lives of chimpanzees, and has developed a deep knowledge of the lives and behavior of over 200 chimps since Jane’s early work in it’s over 55 years of study. Our research plays a unique role in understanding our closest living relatives, providing essential information for the conservation of chimpanzees and contributing to a myriad of other scientific discoveries that benefit humans and chimpanzees alike.

New insight into saving and protecting chimpanzees

At our sanctuary in Tchimpounga, our research on chimpanzees in captivity provides new insights into how chimpanzees orphaned by poaching and trafficking can reclaim their lives and learn to live in healthy, functioning communities. We allow limited non-invasive chimpanzee research at Tchimpounga that contributes to advances in their care.

The more we learn about our closest living relatives, the better we can protect them from extinction—and the more we discover about ourselves and our place in the world.

A scientific revolution in local conservation, local control

True to the visionary work of our founder, JGI puts people at the center of conservation. We make innovative use of advanced science and technology to help local communities identify their needs and develop conservation action plans (CAPs) they can implement with success. Over the years, Dr. Goodall developed an ethic of scientific-based decision-making to make use of tools and protocols that raise the bar in conservation. These tools and practices provide the accurate, up-to-date information local communities need to create, monitor and evaluate their own conservation action plans.

Every day, new uses of science and technology lead to conservation successes that were once impossible. Our Conservation Science team uses leading-edge technologies, such as geospatial mapping and machine learning, to find the solutions that our on-the-ground practitioners need to conserve and protect critical habitat for chimpanzees and other great apes. For example, through advances in remote sensing and cloud computing satellite imagery, we can give communities a detailed overview of chimpanzee habitats with the resolution needed to inform specific conservation decisions.

Building grassroots power and global support

Emerging technology lets us measure and communicate a community’s conservation gains in ways that build understanding and support. We democratize information by using technology and crowd-sourced data that give local people unprecedented access to relevant information and the power to connect around shared concerns. By putting useful information in the hands of local decision-makers, we help communities take ownership of conservation strategies for generations to come.

It’s our experience that partnerships based in science and technology can act as a powerful multiplying force for change at the grassroots level. We develop and share science-based protocols useful to other conservation practitioners, scientists and concerned individuals around the world, including NASA—expanding our sphere of impact to improve the conservation of primates and other endangered species. Such partnerships point to the future of JGI, increasing our capacity to solve pressing needs and achieve conservation successes together.

Our Legacy of Science

From the day she began her legendary chimpanzee research in Gombe, Jane Goodall took an unconventional approach to her subjects. With open eyes and an open mind, she made discoveries that rocked the scientific world, forever changing the way we look at our closest living relatives—and ourselves.

Make a difference with us.

Photo credits on this page (left to right, top to bottom): JGI/ Hugo van Lawick