Mbeli Bai, Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, R. P. Congo

Brief History


Mbeli Bai Gorilla Study in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park (NNNP)

northern Republic of Congo, 2° 15' .600 N, 16° 24' . 758 E

National Park

3.0 km2 (Mbeli Bai); 4000 km2 (entire park)

330 - 600 m

Avg. daily temp. 1995: 28.4° (min. 22.9° max. 33.7°);
Avg. daily temp 1996: 27.6° (min.22.0° max. 33.3°)

1246 - 1267 mm, 1995 - 1996

Mainly primary forest; Sterculiaceae-Ulmaceae semi-deciduous forest type including areas of Raphia spp. swamps; riverine and inland Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forests; Marantaceae forest; marshy clearings (bais) dominated by species of Cyperaceae such as Mbeli Bai.

Human Influence:
Some hunting, particularly elephant poaching prior to 1990 in and around the bai and close to the NE border of the park; no logging; no provisioning.
Disturbance ratings: 1, 1, 1, 1*, 1
* 3 at Mbeli Bai since the gorillas are very well habituated to the presence of people on observation platforms.

Closest village:
20 km from SE border of park

Species studied:
Gorilla gorilla gorilla

Pop. Density:

Fauna (partial list):
Pan troglodytes troglodytes, Cercopithecus ascanius, C. cephus, C. neglectus, C. nictitans nictitans, C. pogonias, Cercocebus albigena, C. agilis, Colobus guereza, Galagoides sp., Panthera pardus, Genetta spp., Aonyx capensis, Lutra maculicollis, Dendrohyrax arboreus, Phataginus tricuspis, Loxodanta africana cyclotis, Syncerus caffer nanus, Potamochoerus porcus, Hylochoerus meinertzhageni, Tragelaphus spekei, Cephalophus silvicultor, C. monticola, C. nigrifrons, C. callipygus, Hyemoschus aquaticus, Orycteropus afer

Study period:
1993 - 1994 (pilot studies); 1995 - present (May 1999)

Excellent for the gorillas at the bai from observation platforms; poor in the forest. However, there are a few groups that visit the bai regularly which could probably be habituated to following in the future. Fair for chimpanzees when they are seen around the bai or encountered in the forest. A pilot study/chimp survey is currently underway in a part of the park (began March '99).

Research presence:

The NNNP is a Wildlife Conservation Society project so there are a number of training and conservation education programs underway or planned including some ecotourism. At Mbeli, we have trained some Congolese students, have hosted a number of government officials/their families and distributed project related t-shirts. Videos filmed at the bai have been shown to people living in the local villages and Brazzaville.

Current research:
Mbeli gorilla social dynamnics, behavior, demography and ecology; mother - infant relationships, finer aspects of communication among individuals

Focal - subject and group scan sampling, ad libitum and videography.

Contact person:
In the U.S.: Claudia Olejniczak (Principal Investigator 1995-1996) Dept. of Anthropology Washington University St. Louis, Missouri; Email: colejnic@artsci.wustl.edu In the Rep. of Congo: Richard Parnell (current P.I.) Nouabale-Ndoki Project B.P. 14537 Brazzaville Rep. of Congo or e-mail (but he is unable to reply via e-mail): mbeli@compuserve.com OR J.M. Fay (Director, Nouabale-Ndoki Project thru mid-1999) same mail address; e-mail 110410.1322@compuserve.com OR Brian Curran (Director, Nouabale-Ndoki Project beginning May 1999; address pending)

Habitat photos:


Aerial photos:


More info and photos available at http://artsci.wustl.edu/~anthro/research/claudia.html including link to Gorilla Conservation News web page.

Ape Site HOME