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Curriculum Vitae


US Fish and Wildlife grant awarded: The Future of the Bili Ape: Distribution, Protection, and Awareness on a Regional and National Level. 2012-2013.
Principle Investigator: Dr. Thurston C. Hicks
CFDA number 15.629
DUNS number:: 037228256+0000
Under the Great Ape Conservation Act of 2000 (USC 6303), Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 / Congo Basin Forest Partnership
Project Coordinator Bili-Uere Survey Project 2012
A collaboration between MPI-EVA & Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, with assistance from African Wildlife Foundation.

Name Thurston Cleveland Hicks
Nationality United States of America
Date of birth February 21, 1972
  Born in Raleigh, North Carolina
Research interests Distribution, conservation status, and behavioral ecology of the African great apes; African great ape behavioral diversity.

 

EDUCATION

2010 – Present Guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Primatology.
2004 – 2010 PhD Thesis, University of Amsterdam. “A Chimpanzee Mega-Culture? Exploring behavioral continuity in Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii across northern DR Congo”. [Link]. In order to complete this thesis, I spent two and a half years in the field in DR Congo studying the Bili-Uele chimpanzees.
2001 – 2004 Master’s thesis, Central Washington University: "Chimpanzee Tool Use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic,” based on the data I collected during my 2001–2002 field expedition to the Ngotto Forest,  CAR.
1990 – 1994 Undergraduate studies: NC State University and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (I graduated from the latter with a degree in Anthropology).

 

FIELD AND LABORATORY RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

2004 – 2010 Lead Scientific Director and Field Camp Manager for the Bili Apes Project, DRC. I followed the local chimpanzees and recorded feeding, nesting, and tool-use behaviors, as well as conducted transect and recce nest surveys. In total we surveyed an area encompassing approximately 35,000 km² of previously uncharted forests and savannas. We also documented an exploding chimpanzee bushmeat crisis to the south of Bili.
2002 Summer Apprentice, Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, Ellensberg, Washington. During this period and during my subsequent graduate studies, I received basic training in animal care for the four sign language-using chimpanzees living at the sanctuary / research center, also participating in ongoing behavioral research and becoming sign-reliable for the chimpanzees.
2001 – 2002 Chief field researcher and camp manager, Ngotto Field Project, CAR, Friends of Washoe. I conducted behavioral research on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) and western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Through the use of transect surveys, I documented the effects of selective-logging on these two species.
1999 – 2001 Field assistant, Mondika Research Station, CAR. I aided in the habituation of a group of western lowland gorillas, collecting data on their diet and behavior. In addition I managed the camp during the absence of the scientific director.
1998 – 1999 Research assistant, Project Bonobo – In-Situ, collecting behavioral data on bonobos (Pan paniscus) at the Planckendael Zoo, Belgium.
1995 – 1998 Research assistant, Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, collecting and entering daily behavioral data on the island’s free-ranging rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In addition, I participated in the yearly 2-month trapping season.
1994 – 1995 Research assistant, Duke Primate Center, Durham, North Carolina, collecting behavioral data on free-ranging ring- tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). I compiled matrices of the dominance hierarchies for two social groups and participated in monthly trappings and weighings.
1993 Field assistant, University of North Carolina Archaeological Dig, Mississippi, during which time I received training in archaeological excavation and participated in the unearthing of ancient Native American artifacts.
1990 – 1991 Research and field assistant, North Carolina Museum of Natural History, cleaning and preserving dinosaur fossils at the museum. I participated in the Wyoming Dinosaur Expedition in the summer of 1991.

 

ORAL PRESENTATIONS AT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIA

2013 Hicks, Thurston C., Sandra Tranquilli, Hjalmar Kuehl, Genevieve Campbell, Jeroen Swinkels, Laura Darby, Christophe Boesch, John Hart, and Steph BJ Menken 2013. "A Large, Continuous, and Stable Population of Eastern Chimpanzees Inhabits the Forests of Northern DR Congo."Abstract for presentation at the European federation of Primatologists 2013 conference in Antwerp, Belgium. In FOLIA PRIMATOLOGICA, vol. 84, no. 3-5, pp. 286-287. ALLSCHWILERSTRASSE 10, CH-4009 BASEL, SWITZERLAND: KARGER, 2013.
2010 “A Mega-Culture? Behavioral continuity in the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of northern DR Congo.” International Primatological Society Congress XXIII, Kyoto, Japan. 17 September.
2010 “A Chimpanzee Mega-Culture? Behavioral continuity in the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of northern DR Congo.” The Symposium of Tropical Ecology, the University of Amsterdam. 22 October.
2009 “Exploration of a chimpanzee Mega-Culture in DR Congo.”16th PhD Day, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 10 December.
2009 “Explorations of a threatened chimpanzee ‘Mega-Culture’ in the northern DR Congo.” The Burgers Zoo, The Netherlands. March.
2007 “Apes in Congo”. IBED Day, The University of Amsterdam, Hoge Veluwe, The Netherlands. 13 September.
2006 “Beyond the speculation - Just what are the Bili apes?” International Primatological Society Congress XXI, Entebbe, Uganda. 29 June.
2006 “Some images of the Bili apes.” International Primatological Society Congress XXI, Entebbe, Uganda. 29 June.
2005 “The Bili apes – Are they special?” The European Federation of Primatologists conference in Göttingen, Germany. 12 August.
2004 “Chimpanzee tool use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic.” The Rocky Mountain Pyschological Association conference, Reno, Nevada. April.
2004 “Nest construction by chimpanzees and gorillas in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic.” The Third Central Washington University Graduate Student and Faculty Conference. (Together with Dr. Roger Fouts I received an Outstanding Student Presentation Award for this talk). 6 May.

 

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

2002 – 2004 Docent at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute’s Chimposium. I served as Presenter/Observer Guide for this program, informing visitors about chimpanzee behavior and conservation (including the threat of the bushmeat trade) and introducing visitors to the chimpanzees for brief visits.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

Languages English native speaker, fluent in French and Spanish, conversational in Lingala, Sangho and Babenzele. German and Dutch – works in progress!