An Integrated Geomatics Research Program for Mountain Gorilla Behavior and Conservation

  • H. Dieter Steklis
  • Scott Madry
  • Nick Faust
  • Netzin Gerald Steklis
  • Eugene Kayijamahe
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


Global Position System Geographic Information System Digital Elevation Model Global Position System Data Minimum Convex Polygon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The initial GIS database development and imagery analyses were conducted at the CRSSA, Rutgers University. Later and current work has been conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Informatics International, Inc. of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute of Atlanta, Georgia. Many research associates and students have contributed their time and expertise to this project over the years. We particularly thank Rich Bochkay (CRSSA, Rutgers University), Paul Beatty (Georgia Institute of Technology), Bob Wiencek (CRSSA, Rutgers University), Dr. Larry Lass (University of Idaho-Moscow), Jen LeClair (Rutgers University), Amy Jacobson (Rutgers University), and Theresa McReynolds (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

We also wish to express our appreciation to the NASA/Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory SIR-C/X-SAR Program staff for their assistance in acquiring the SIR-C data. Stephan Maas located the historic Belgian 1:50:000 and 100,000 maps for us, and we are grateful to the Belgian Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren and the British National Archives in London for their assistance in providing archival maps of the region. We also thank Dr. Annette Lanjouw of the International Gorilla Conservation Program for the contribution of the Virunga toponym data. Grateful appreciation is extended to the staff, donors, and supporters of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Significant funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Georgia Research Alliance. Additional funding was provided by the MacArthur Foundation, the Daniel K. Thorne Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and ESSI. In-kind donations of equipment and software have been provided by Trimble GPS, ERDAS, and the iPIX Corporation. We thank the three national parks authorities of Rwanda (ORTPN), DRC (ICCN), and Uganda (UWA) for permitting and facilitating our research in the Virunga region. We also thank Sir Arthur C. Clarke for his continuing inspiration and for his assistance in facilitating aspects of this project. Finally, we wish to express our heartfelt thanks and respect to the expatriate DFGFI staff of the Karisoke Research Center, and particularly to the Center's Rwandan field staff, many of whom lost their lives protecting the mountain gorillas, and whose courageous, tireless efforts assure the gorillas' continued survival. In the end, we acknowledge the mountain gorillas of the Virungas, and their right to exist. Information about our research and products can be viewed on the following websites:,


  1. Fischer, E., and Hinkel, H. (1992). Natur Ruandas: La Nature du Rwanda. Rhein-Main Druck, Mainz.Google Scholar
  2. Fossey, D. (1974). Observations on the home range of one group of mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei). Animal Behaviour. 22:568–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fossey, D., and Harcourt, A.H. (1977). Feeding ecology of free-ranging mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei). In: Clutton-Brock, T. H. (ed.) Primate Ecology: Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys, and Apes. Academic Press, New York, pp. 415–447.Google Scholar
  4. Gerald, C.N. (1995). Demography of the Virunga mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei). MSc. Disseration, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  5. Goren, et al., (1993). GRASS 4.2 Users Manual. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, Champaign, IL.Google Scholar
  6. Harcourt, A.H. (1995). Population viability estimates: theory and practice for a wild gorilla population. Conservation Biology. 9:134–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harcourt, A.H. (1999). Biogeographic relationships of primates on South-East Asian Islands. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 8(1):55–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hooge, P.N., and Eichenlaub, B. (2000). Animal movement extension to Arcview. Alaska Science Office, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK.Google Scholar
  9. IUCN (2002). 2002 IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  10. Jernvall, J., and Wright, PC. (1998). Diversity components of impending primate extinctions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 95:11279–11283.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Jordan, R.L., Huneycutt, B.L., and Werner, M. (1991). The SIR-C/X-SAR Synthetic Aperture Radar System. Proc. of the IEEE. 79:827–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kalpers, J., Williamson, E.A., Robbins, M.M., McNeilage, A., Nzamurambaho, A., Lola, N., and Mugiri, G. (2003). Gorillas in the crossfire: population dynamics of the Virunga mountain gorillas over the past three decades. Oryx. 37(3):326–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Knowles, A.K. (2002). Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History. Esri Press, Redlands, CA.Google Scholar
  14. McNeilage, A.J. (1995). Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes: Ecology and Carrying Capacity. Ph.D. Dissertation. School of Biological Sciences. University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.Google Scholar
  15. McNeilage, A.J. (2001). Diet and habitat use of two mountain gorilla groups in contrasting habitats in the Virungas. In: Robbins, Sicotte, P., and Stewart, K. J. (eds.) Mountain Gorillas: Three Decades of Research at Karisoke. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 265–292.Google Scholar
  16. Plumptre, A.J, and Williamson, E. A. (2001). Conservation-oriented research in the Virunga Region. In: Robbins, M. M., Sicotte, P., and Stewart, K. J. (eds.) Mountain Gorillas: Three Decades of Research at Karisoke. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 361–389.Google Scholar
  17. Robbins, M.M., Sicotte, P., and Stewart, K.J. (2001). Mountain Gorillas: Three Decades of Research at Karisoke. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Scott, J.M., Heglund, P.J., Morrison, M.L., Haufler, J.B., Raphael, M.G., Wall, W.A., and Samson, F.B. (eds.) (2002). Predicting Species Occurrences: Issues of Accuracy and Scale. Island Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  19. Steklis, H.D., and Gerald-Steklis, N. (2001). Status of the Virunga mountain gorilla population. In: Robbins, M.M., Sicotte, P., and Stewart, K.J. (eds.) Mountain Gorillas: Three Decades of Research at Karisoke. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 391–412.Google Scholar
  20. Steklis, H.D., Gerald-Steklis, N, and Madry, S. (1996/1997). The mountain gorilla: Conserving an endangered primate in conditions of extreme political Instability. Primate Conservation. 17:145–151.Google Scholar
  21. Stuhr, F., Jordan, R., and Werner, M. (1995). SIR-C/X-SAR: A multifaceted radar. Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE. 10(10):15–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vedder, A. (1984). Movement patterns of a group of free ranging mountain gorillas (Gg. beringei) and their relationship to food availability. American Journal of Primatology. 7:73–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Vedder, A. (1986). Diet selectivity in one group of mountain gorillas (G gorilla beringei). Primate Report. 1986:134.Google Scholar
  24. Walsh, P.D., Abernethy, K.A., Bermejo, M., Beyers, R., Wachter, P.D., Akou, M.E., Huijbregts, B., Mambounga, D.I., Toham, A.K., Kilbourn, A.M., Lahm, S.A., Latour, S., Maisels, F., Mbina, C, Minhindou, Y, Obiang, S.N., Effa, E.N., Starkey, M.P, Telfer, P., Thibault, M., Tutin, C.E.G., White, L.J.T., and Wilkie, D.S. (2003). Catastrophic ape decline in western equatorial Africa. Nature. (April 6, 2003), pp. 1–3.Google Scholar
  25. Watts, D.P (1991). Habitat use strategies of mountain gorillas. Folia Primatologica. 56:1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Weber, A.W, and Vedder, A. (1983). Population dynamics of the Virunga gorillas. Biological Conservation. 26:341–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Weber, B. (1995). Le Parc National des Volcans Biosphere Reserve, Rwanda: the role of development in conservation. Parks. 10(3):19–21.Google Scholar
  28. White, F. (1978) The afromontane region. In: Werger, M.J.A. (ed.) Biogeography and Ecology of Southern Africa. The Hague, Junk. pp. 463–513.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Dieter Steklis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scott Madry
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nick Faust
    • 5
  • Netzin Gerald Steklis
    • 6
  • Eugene Kayijamahe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology Rutgers University New BrunswickNew JerseyUSA
  2. 2.The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International AtlantaGeorgiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Anthropology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel HillNorth CarolinaUSA
  4. 4.Informatics International, Inc. Chapel HillNorth CarolinaUSA
  5. 5.Georgia Tech Research Institute Georgia Institute of Technology AtlantaGeorgiaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Geography National University of Rwanda ButareRwanda

Personalised recommendations