Climbing trees

For my research on chimpanzee nests I am measuring thickness, depth, width as well as the number of plant parts used in nest construction. In order to do this we have to get inside the nests. This  is done in two ways, either by free-climbing the tree to reach the nest or by using ropes and climbing gear adopted from rock climbers.

     Above SO is free-climbing a nest 8 metres above the ground  

It was interesting to watch SO climbing this tree because he did it with such ease, looking utterlycomfortable up in that tree. After several months I still get nervous 5 metres off the ground.

Free climbing can be risky, and some of the nests on the island are located more than 20 metres high. So we are also using the double rope technique to reach the higher nests.

   Above JL getting some practise in using ropes. 

SS hovering above the ground 

JS inside a nest

Above is a photo of me climbing up to a nest 25 metres, I am about halfway there in the photo. The pic was taken by JS who was 8 metres off the ground. 

After a long day of climbing we get very tired and often take naps. Fortunately the chimp nests are very comfortable when they are green (newly built).

Lastly above is my first photo of a Rubondo chimp inside a nest … two in fact, there is another chimp just hidden out of view by the leaves on the left hand side.


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About Nadejda Josephine

I am currently studying for a doctorate in Anthropology at University College London. My fieldwork takes place on Rubondo Island, Lake Victoria in Tanzania. The research looks at the nesting patterns and nest architecture in the Rubondo chimpanzees. I began the work in April 2012 and will remain on the island until at least October 2013. I write this blog so as not to forget this wonderful island and the random events which occur throughout my fieldwork.

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