This is the original camp that Christophe and Hedwige Boesch built in the late 1970s to study the behaviour of the chimpanzees. It was home to their family for more than 10 years and the base for many extraordinary observations. These days the North Camp constitutes the hygiene barrier between the chimps and the outer world. In the North Camp every visitor to the Tai chimpanzees needs to go through a five day long quarantine before the researcher continues to one of the research camps.
Being away 10 minutes by foot to the north from the North Camp, the Barrage had been established to serve as a meteorological station. During the early 1980s the camp became the base for the field assistants working with the Boeschs in the forest. These days the Barrage is the research camp for everybody working with the North group and our group of mangabeys.
The North group was the first community that Christophe Boesch and his wife Hedwige started to habituate in 1979. It took the Boeschs almost ten years to gain the trust of all community members. The community became famous due to their use of stone hammers and the extraordinary level of collaboration during group hunts on colobus monkeys.
The mangabey group is not yet habituated. We started last in November 2012 to follow the monkeys for out-group comparisons on chimpanzee cognition.
Situated in the forest without any direct connection to a mud road that can be driven by a car, the South camp is reached only on foot (30 min from the Station CRE or 75 min from the North camp). In the 1980s the South camp became the base for the habituation of the second community of chimpanzees habituated in Taï, the South community. Our days the camp has expanded to be our largest camp and serves as the research camp for the South community and the geographic center of TCP.
When the habituation process started with the South group, hopes were high that the South group chimps were the neighbours to the North group. After several years into the habituation, however, in the early 1990s, it became clear that there was a community located in the between North and South group. The South group reached a lot of fame when they featured in the Disney Nature film ‘Chimpanzee’, which was filmed with the South camp as the base for the filming crew.
The Middle group, located in between South and North group, was habituated in the late 1990s, but is not followed on daily bases anymore.
The most remote of our camps, the East camp is 90 min walking distance from the South camp. Built just a few years ago, the East camp is home to our research team for the East group.
Being the latest addition to the Taï family, the East group has taken a steep career. Fully habituated since 2008, the East group includes the star of the Disney Nature movie ‘Chimpanzee’, named Freddy, and some of the other actors.
After the survey of the Pan African Program in 2012 / 2013 it became clear that North-east group is big and moving further into our research area. Therefore TCP took over the temporary camp of the Pan Af and build a tented camp as a base for the habituation. North-East camp is now a camp providing sleeping possibilities for 6 people and some electricity.