Gishwati Area Conservation Programme (GACP) has named Sylvain Nyandwi as the new research manager for the programme’s chimpanzee field study.
A statement issued by GACP indicates that Nyandwi will lead a field research team, coordinate daily tracking, collate and digitize all data and field observations, and manage the GACP’s field station in the village of Kinihira, adjacent to the Gishwati Forest in the highlands.
“Nyandwi is a dedicated employee whose performance has contributed significantly to our success since he was hired in September 2008,” reads the statement.
The coordinator of GACP, Madeleine Nyiratuza, said that Nyandwi has demonstrated the ability to manage the field research team and his previous position of research assistant proved his strong leadership.
The chimpanzee field study, which focuses on ecology and behavior, began in June 2007 under the direction of Dr. Rebecca Chancellor.
As the principal investigator for the chimpanzee research, Chancellor supervised collection of detailed data on the chimpanzees’ movements in the forest, the foods they ate, and their nest site selection, as well as detailed data on the annual flowering and fruiting cycles of trees and plants in the Gishwati Forest.
Nyandwi has been Chancellor’s chief research assistant at GACP since the beginning of the study.
He mastered all of the detailed research protocols and learned to use global positioning systems (GPS), remote self-activated cameras (camera traps), and computerized data management systems.
Although Chancellor recently returned to the United States upon completion of her two-year post-doctoral fellowship, she continues to serve as principal investigator and will continue to oversee the scientific program.
“Nyandwi is a natural leader and skilled biologist who has continually demonstrated his ability to excel as research manager of the Gishwati Area Conservation Programme,” said Chancellor.
“He has spent many hours in the forest and field station helping me with data collection and management and has proven to have the energy and aptitude to do this job well. I’m looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.”
Nyandwi, 30, graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the National University of Rwanda in 2007, having completed his senior thesis on the effects of human disturbance on the nesting behavior of the Gishwati Forest chimpanzees.