The Gashaka Primate Project


Home Countries of Project Affiliates

Argentina, Austria, Cameroon, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA

Research Partnerships

Individual collaborators were or are affiliated with 23 universities (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, American University Yola, California State University Fullerton, Federal University of Technology Bauchi, Federal University of Technology Yola, Gombe State University, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Ibadan University, Oxford Brookes University, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa, Universität Frankfurt, Universität Würzburg, University College London, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of California Berkely, University of California Riverside, University of Canterbury / New Zealand, University of Chicago, University of Cocody-Abidjan, University of Copenhagen, University of Maiduguri, University of St. Andrews), 5 research institutes (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic Bron; Deutsches Primatenzentrum, Göttingen; International Institut for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan; Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung, Berlin; Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropology, Leipzig), 2 zoological societies (Zoological Society of San Diego; North of England Zoological Society), 3 conservation NGOs (Nigerian Conservation Foundation, WWF-UK, Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria) plus the Nigeria National Parks Service.

Funding Agencies

Leakey Foundation, Alexander-von-Humboldt Stiftung, Max-Planck-Society, Primate Conservation International, Leventis Foundation, Primatological Society of Great Britain, Development Corporation Ireland, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NERC, ESRC, North of England Zoological Society

Project Members

Students (Undergraduate, Masters, PhD), Researchers (Post-docs, senior researchers), Volunteers, Field assistants

Project Partners

Nigeria National Parks Service, headquartered in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, grants research permits.
Gashaka-Gumti National Park coordinates ranger patrols, surveys, stakeholder consultations and infrastructural development in conjunction with the project.
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation, headquartered in Lekki / Lagos and its partner institution WWF-UK, provided logistics, such as transport and construction of facilities during its presence in Gashaka (1992–2008).

Project Management

Director and Founder

Volker SOMMER is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at University College London. He studied Biology, Chemistry and Theology in Göttingen / Germany, completing his PhD in 1985 and his habilitation in 1991. He held a fellowship of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung and was a Heisenberg-fellow of the German Research council. His research focuses on Indian temple monkeys in Rajasthan, gibbons in Thailand’s rainforest, and chimpanzees in Africa. He is one of the best known science writers in the German speaking world, and his many books won him numerous awards. Volker Sommer serves on the editorial board of various primatological journals and he is a member of the Section on Great Apes of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission.

Director of Baboon Research

Caroline ROSS is Reader in Evolutionary Anthropology and Convener of the MRes Primatology at Roehampton University, London. Carolin Ross directs the baboon studies of GPP. Her research interests include primate socioecology, life-history evolution and human-wildlife conflict.

Project Manager

Umaru BUBA obtained an MTech in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the Federal University of Technology Yola / Nigeria (2007), where he currently completes a PhD. Project manager of the Gashaka Primate Project (since 2006) and Assistant Reader in Wildlife Biology at the newly founded Taraba State University in Jalingo (since 2010).

Core-Funding: “Chester Zoo Nigeria Biodiversity Programme”

The project’s running costs are generously covered by the “Chester Zoo Nigeria Biodiversity Programme” affiliated with the zoo’s outreach initiatives ( This support has funded construction work, secures the employment of local field assistants, provides bursaries for African students, and sponsors initiatives of the Gashaka Primate Project for infrastructural development of the National Park.

Chester Zoo is involved in many vital conservation outreach projects. Click here for more information.

Project Sites

The project maintains a research station in the village of Gashaka and a field station in the remote forests of Kwano. A dirt road, suitable for 4-wheel drive vehicles, connects Gashaka with the town of Serti where the National Park headquarters are located. However, for more than half of each year, the study area can only be reached on foot, including several precarious river crossings.