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The Chimp Man of Mahale

7/9/2019

THE CHIMP MAN OF MAHALE


Listen here to the story of Mwiga Mambo; one of Africa's leading primate guides who has called Tanzania's Greystoke Mahale home for 20 years.
 
Mwiga's family was local royalty – his maternal grandfather was a well-respected Tongwe chief and his grandmother was born in a village not far from where Greystoke now sits. Mwiga was brought up with stories of the chimpanzees. His mother spoke of them often and both his uncle and father worked with the original Japanese research team of primatologists, when they arrived in 1965 from Kyoto University. In fact, his father introduced Professor John Ichiro Itan to the Mahale population of chimps and his uncle was one of the trackers who helped to habituate the M-Group.
 
At 16 years of age he met Jane Goodall who gave a talk at his school, and received a prize from her for his exceptional knowledge (and drawing) of a chimp. With such a pedigree, and his insatiable curiosity, Mwiga went on to become one of Mahale's top guides. After 20 years, he still finds that each day with the chimps brings new discoveries and, as he says, he is a full-time student at the best primate university in the world. 
 
Over the last few years Mwiga has been an ambassador for the chimps of Mahale, travelling to Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila in 2016, and to the USA in 2017 giving presentations to clients about life in Mahale. Having never left Tanzania beforehand, he has even recently returned from a trip to Virunga National Park in the Congo to meet the gorillas that now number over 1,000, thanks to the conservation efforts and knowledge of people such as Mwiga. 


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