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Statistics Without Borders Project: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Sierra Leone

  • Since 1995, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary has rescued and rehabilitated nearly 200 orphaned and illegally traded western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). SWB did two projects for Tacugama in 2018.
  • In a fairly rapid 3-month project, one of our Masters-level statisticians analyzed before-and-after data from an environmental awareness campaign conducted by the conservation manager in order to reduce the negative impact of construction along the Bandajuma-Jendema road near the Liberian border. 
  • McNemar's test was used to demonstrate the success of the campaign in improving awareness of the illegality of chimpanzee trading and risks associated with bushmeat consumption. GLMM models indicated that individuals who encounter bushmeat and/or use it as part of their daily lives may lack a corresponding awareness of the health risks, and be at highest risk for diseases such as Ebola.
  • SWB was asked to investigate the causes of an ataxia-like mystery disease responsible for the deaths of over 50 chimpanzees since 2005. 
  • Tacugama veterinarians have long recognized important risk factors such as time of year and forested enclosure but were anxious to investigate further. 
  • The SWB team included a medical school professor and a recent graduate in Industrial Engineering. 
  • Project work continued for nearly a year while SWB volunteers explored the data with Cox survival analysis, competing risk plots, and CART models. 
  • We also created an electronic database for the veterinarians, enabling them to record more types of data in a consistent and easily accessible form.

All photos credit: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

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