Friday, April 22, 2016

!!! Happy Earth Day and Happy One Year Anniversary to Chimp&See !!!

One year ago today (4/22/15), Chimp & See came to life at Our goal was to engage citizen scientists to help us annotate the thousands of hours of camera trap video footage we have collected as part of the PanAfrican Programme: The Cultured Chimpanzee (PanAf) from across Africa.

Our primary goal with Chimp & See is to better understand chimpanzees, which is why we ask for so much detail from the chimp videos. But it is also important to know the chimpanzee predator density at each site (leopards), the density of certain prey animals (monkeys), the human pressure at each site and the density of species that are food competitors with chimpanzees (elephants, pigs, monkeys and more). These are all factors that directly affect chimpanzee behaviour. Furthermore, we want biodiversity estimates for each site and to ascertain which species make good indicator species for these forests which help us develop better biomonitoring tools. We always anticipated as well to share our data with researchers interested in all the species represented in our camera trap videos.

We are proud and humbled to say that, one year later, our success has been much greater than we had anticipated!

To date, over 7600 Chimp & See citizen scientists have annotated more than 400,000 videos representing over 2.2 million classifications from 13 sites across Africa! And we have identified more than 330 different chimpanzees so far!

We've had some great surprises along the way, from the unexpected species (like our very first West African lions, and the hypnotically-dancing green mamba) to the unexpected behaviours (such as stone throwing, which led to our first paper, goop-eating, and something we like to call 'diddling').  We met some special chimps (like the exotic red-haired lady Roux, the pale-faced Pearl with Flocke her sideways-riding infant, and Dodge, whose disability is outshined by his personality -- also featured in our paper above), as well as a few unique individuals of other species.  And we even learned to speak chimpanzee!

Some "big picture" highlights from this past year include participating in both the Zooniverse Best Practices Workshop in Chicago, USA and the Max Planck Society's Open Science Days in Berlin, Germany and becoming official members of the B├╝rger schaffen Wissen, Atlas of the Future and European Citizen Science Association as well. We were also featured on's Cool Green Science Blog and the Leipzig city portal.

Thanks to the amazing work and initiative of our citizen scientists we have even initiated some very successful mini-projects, as well, including identifying many of the other primate species, and looking at animal camera reactions in our Animal Selfies project.  This work will allow us, and our collaborators, to continue learning from this data for years to come.
"With the help of enthusiastic and engaged citizen scientists, this exciting project has the potential to change our understanding of wild chimpanzee ecology" -- Hjalmar Kuehl, Director of the Great Ape Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Research GroupMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig
We could not have come this far without YOU, our volunteers, supporters, and friends.  Every day, we are excited and amazed by the efforts and enthusiasm you've given to C&S.

The PanAf Science Team wants to particularly thank our amazing Chimp&See volunteer moderators for their incredible support and work this past year. We know that thanks to their passion and commitment that our data and videos are in the best hands possible! The Science Team also wants to thank each and every one of our citizen scientists for their contribution to annotating the PanAf videos. Even if you only do it now and then for a few minutes at a time, we value the time and effort you are giving the project! Thank you, Grazie, Dankeschoen, Gracias and Merci !!!!

In addition to this special day, we decided the celebration should last a little longer... and have prizes!  Be sure to head over to the C&S Talk discussion boards after you finish reading this post to learn about some special chimps that are stopping by to party with us!  Find them all, and you could win your own official Chimp & See t-shirt!  This game will run through the end of next week (4/29), and will take place only on the Talk boards, so keep an eye out for them there!  Good luck!

And with that, we say Happy Earth Day, everyone and thank you so very very much for being part of the Chimp & See Community - we absolutely could not do this without you!

P.S.  If you, or someone you know, is still looking for a project for Earth Day, Chimp & See is a fun and rewarding place to volunteer!  It's suitable for kids and adults, from any location, any time of day, in any weather! Plus, with recent and upcoming improvements to our interface, tutorials, and FAQs, we're making it easier than ever to get started making a difference!  So please share this post or get the word out by following & sharing on Facebook and Twitter!

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