Get Immersed In Gombe

All recordings made in Gombe, July 1990 by Bernie Krause and Ruth Happel.
© 2021 Wild Sanctuary. All Rights Reserved.

Gombe is where Jane Goodall’s journey began over 60 years ago. Today, the Gombe Stream Research Centre is a living laboratory, home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees. Founded to advance Jane’s revolutionary findings about chimpanzees, our mission in Gombe is to operate a world-class research station where the best available methods are used to further develop long-term primate research projects.

Researchers witnessed and recorded entire lifespans of individual chimps in Gombe. And it all began with Jane Goodall and her groundbreaking discoveries. Because of the decades of research at Gombe we have a better understanding of these magnificient animals, our closest living relatives. Today, researchers continue to collect data on species’ behaviours, health, and social relationships. The most important thing we’ve learned from this research – chimpanzees must be protected. They are a keystone species, meaning the ecosystems they call home, places like Gombe, would change dramatically without them.

Black and white photo of Bernie sitting looking out a window.

Meet The Artist:
Bernie Krause

Since 1968, Bernie Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments large and small. Working at the research sites of Jane Goodall (Gombe, Tanzania), Biruté Galdikas (Camp Leakey, Borneo), and Dian Fossey (Karisoke, Rwanda), he identified the concepts of the Acoustic Niche Hypothesis (ANH), and biophony the collective and organized acoustic output as each species establishes unique frequency and/or temporal bandwidth within a given habitat. To round out the definitions of soundscape sources, Krause, with colleague, Stuart Gage, added the terms, geophony (non-biological natural sounds), and anthropophony (human-generated acoustic signals). Krause is also a founder of the new ecological discipline, soundscape ecology. In the world of fine art, Krause has produced over 50 natural soundscape CDs and designed interactive, non-repetitive environmental sound sculptures for museums and other public spaces worldwide. As a professional studio musician, Krause filled the late Pete Seeger slot in The Weavers during their final year (1963). With his late music partner, Paul Beaver, he helped introduce the Moog synthesizer to pop music and film on the West Coast in the mid-1960s. Aside from their own charted recordings, the team’s work can be heard on over 250 albums, including those of Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and David Byrne, George Harrison, the Doors, and 135 feature films released since 1967, including Apocalypse Now, Performance, Rosemary’s Baby, Shipping News, and Castaway.

Krause, who holds a PhD in Creative Arts with an internship in Bioacoustics, was a germane to introducing the concept of natural soundscapes as a resource for the U.S. National Park Service. His recent book, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places, was published by Little Brown/Hachette, March, 2012, and has been translated into eight languages. In July, 2014, the Cheltenham Music Festival premiered a new symphony by Richard Blackford and Krause featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

The Great Animal Orchestra: A Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes, is based on Krause’s book and is the first live performance piece to incorporate natural soundscapes as a component of the orchestration (CD available on Nimbus Records). In the spring of 2015, “Biophony”, a music score composed entirely of natural sounds, was commissioned, choreographed and premiered by the Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, an internationally-renowned corps based in San Francisco. His book, The Power of Tranquility in a Very Noisy World, was just published by LittleBrown/Hachette. Krause’s art and science exhibition, Le Grand Orchestre des Animaux, commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris, opened 1 July 2016. The piece has since been exhibited at the Seoul Museum of Art in S. Korea, Shanghai, China, and opened MoMA’s (NY) Triennale in Milan, 1 March 2019, and featured at London’s 180 The Strand Gallery. It will have its U.S. premier at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA in November, 2021. In May, it opens in 2022 in Lille, France, followed by Sydney, Australia. In the Fall of 2022, it will have its West Coast premier at San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

Krause lives with his wife and partner, Katherine, in Sonoma, California.

Watch Bernie Krauses’ TED Global talk.

Jane Goodall’s Discoveries in Gombe

Use of Tools

In November of 1960, Jane observed that chimpanzees make and use tools. Before this, non-human animals were presumed to be mere automatons. This discovery revolutionized the field of animal behavior, presenting the idea that humans are not so different from other species. When Louis Leakey received an excited telegram from Jane describing her discoveries he made his now famous response: “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans.”


Mother-Infant Relations

Dr. Goodall began a landmark chimpanzee mother-infant study – one that continues to this day. Thanks to this research, we know that chimpanzees learn essential life skills from their mothers, including how to pick up on emotional cues, be a good leader, and demonstrate compassion.

Diverse Emotions

Dr. Goodall witnessed chimpanzees embracing to comfort one another in mourning and documented adoption of orphaned chimpanzees by others in the community. Challenging the notion that non-human animals lack emotions, she was witnessing compassion and altruism, not unlike our own.

Omnivore Diet

In 1960, Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzees are omnivorous. She observed them hunting and eating bush pigs, colobus monkeys and small mammals. However, meat only comprises three percent of their average diet.


Tribal Warfare

Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzees can engage in a type of ‘war’ against rival groups. From 1974 to 1978, a unified group of Kasakela chimpanzees began splintering into two communities and engaging in ‘warfare’. Jane found that they are as complex as we and with a dark side, which exists alongside their compassion and kindness.

Social Connection

Dr. Goodall recorded chimps hugging and kissing each other, developing strong social connections, and using their wits against rivals. These observations highlighted that humans and chimps have much more social behaviour in common than was previously believed.