Though earlier studies have documented tool use among chimps in eastern Africa and other regions, authors Crickette Sanz of Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, WCS researcher David Morgan of Cambridge University, and Steve Gulick of Wildland Security say that the Goualougo chimps use tools in different ways than previously observed.
The study, funded in large part by WCS and National Geographic, relied on remote video cameras recording chimps using heavy sticks to punch holes in termite mounds, then using a lighter stick known as a "fishing tool" to extract termites. For underground termite mounds a different stick-tool was used to perforate the nest surface, before scooping up the termites.
But perhaps even most remarkable is the fact that the chimpanzee population still exists in this remote forest. Four years ago, the Swiss-based timber company CIB had planned to establish a logging operation here, which would have irreparably harmed this unique population that WCS conservationists believe may have virtually no historic contact with humans.
Subsequent efforts by WCS to work with CIB and the Republic of Congo led to the eventual protection of the forest, which is now an integral part of Nouabal-Ndoki National Park, a protected area WCS helped create in 1993.
"Had the Wildlife Conservation Society not helped to save the Goualougo from being logged, this