Portrait of Dr Tatyana Humle

Dr Tatyana Humle

Reader in Conservation and Primate Behaviour
Head of School

About

Dr Tatyana Humle is a zoologist by training (BSc in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland) and completed her PhD in the Department of Psychology at the University of Stirling in 2004. Tanya was then granted a NIMH Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Department of Psychology based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA (2004-2007) before taking on a position as an Associate Professor with the Primate Research Institute and the Wildlife Research Centre at the University of Kyoto, Japan (2007-2010). 

Dr Humle joined the School of Anthropology at the University of Kent in 2010 and DICE in 2012. She has been conducting fieldwork on wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in West Africa, both habituated and non-habituated individuals, since 1995, and has been working collaboratively with African Great Ape sanctuaries since 2008. 

Dr Humle's main research focuses on understanding how great apes adapt to environmental change and manage life in anthropogenic landscapes shaped by small- and large-scale development, identifying drivers of tolerance and attitudes toward wildlife, and developing and evaluating mitigation schemes aimed at improving co-existence between non-human great apes and people. Tanya is also interested in great ape rehabilitation and reintroduction with the aim to improve both welfare and conservation objectives for the species. 

Dr Humle also nourishes a keen research interest in the study of learning and culture in non-human animals, with a special focus on primates, the respective roles of the social and physical environment on learning in young, inter- and intra-community behavioural differences in chimpanzees, and behavioural ecology and cognition. 

Tanya has been an active member of the executive committee of the IUCN (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Section on Great Ape Conservation (SGA) of the Primate Specialist Group since its inception.

Dr Tatyana Humle is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Research interests

Great ape rehabilitation and reintroduction

The chimpanzee sanctuary in the Parc National du Haut Niger (PNHN) in Guinea is managed by the Chimpanzee Conservation Center (CCC), a founding member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA). The CCC currently holds more than 40 chimpanzees, primarily all victims of the pet trade. 

The PNHN, which extends over ca. 10,000 square kilometres, is one of the last remaining important formations of dry forest-savanna mosaic in West Africa and a site of high conservation value for both ungulates and wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). This park also harbours leopards (Panthera pardus) and a small remnant population of lions (Panthera leo).

Based upon the IUCN reintroduction guidelines, PASA approved the release of a group of twelve chimpanzees from the CCC in the PNHN. These chimpanzees were released in June 2008, 32 km from the sanctuary. A further five chimpanzees were added to the core release group in August 2011. 

Dr Humle's role as scientific advisor and research coordinator with the CCC focuses primarily on the following three areas:

  • Evaluation of rehabilitation and release procedures 
  • Post-release monitoring employing sophisticated tracking systems 
  • Evaluation of conservation impact of the release program on the PNHN

Principle Collaborators 

Surveying and assessing oil palm use in chimpanzees in degraded landscapes

This project aims to contribute to the improving survey methodologies of wild chimpanzees in degraded landscapes harbouring oil palms and propitious to agricultural development, and to further our understanding of the reliance of chimpanzees on the oil palms in such areas. It aims to achieve this by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and camera traps. This study also seeks to test the value of using UAV technology to improve survey efficiency of chimpanzees in such landscapes. 

Funding: ARCUS Foundation 

Principle Collaborators: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary; Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Patterns and drivers of wild-meat and resource utilisation in the High Niger National Park (HNNP), Guinea, West Africa

A study, led by Dr Humle and Dr Alexandre Konate in 2010-11 (in prep.) across four focal villages in the HNNP and the town of Faranah which abuts the park, indicated that, although there has been a decrease in the biomass in wild-meat off-take, there has also been an increase in the diversity of species hunted and a shift to smaller prey size and so-called ‘pest’ species. 

More primate species are being hunted and primates (with the exception of chimpanzees for now) contribute a significantly greater proportion of the wild-meat available on markets compared with the mid-nineties and early noughties. This study also identified all stakeholders involved in the wild-meat trade and market chains used to channel wild-meat to urban centres. A new survey is required to evaluate the current situation, but, most crucially, a better understanding of the key drivers of wild-meat hunting and trade is urgently needed. 

The proposed study primarily aims not only to replicate Konate and Humle’s study but also to apply the newly developed Wild-meat Toolkit developed by Josephine Head/Arcus Foundation which aims to identify drivers and factors influencing wild-meat hunting and trade across focal localities. A secondary objective of this study is to help improve the application and implementation of the Wild-meat Toolkit in francophone countries and its usage by national conservation practitioners in-country. 

Broader application of the Toolkit will favour a wider understanding of key factors and drivers across differing scales, e.g. local, national and regional, which is key to developing sound and effective strategies aimed at promoting sustainable hunting practices and protein-alternative schemes. 

Funding: ARCUS Foundation 

Principle Collaborators: Dr. Alexandre Konate; ISAV, Faranah, Republic of Guinea and the Office of Protected Areas of Guinea (OGUIPAR); the local HNNP authorities and HNNP director; and the Chimpanzee Conservation Centre (CCC).

Teaching

  • DI531: Human-Wildlife Conflict and Resource Competition (convenor)
  • DI535: Tropical Ecology and Conservation
  • DI884: Research Skills for Natural Sciences (convenor)
  • DI892: Current Issues in Primate Conservation (convenor)
  • DI1001: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Conservation
  • DI998: Dissertation - Conservation (convenor)
  • DI883: Special Topics in Conservation

Supervision

Dr Humle is interested in supervising PhD students in the fields of primate conservation, rehabilitation and reintroduction, and on issues pertaining to human–wildlife interactions, especially relevant to the impact of extractive and agricultural activities on great apes.

Current

  • Lucie Duanomou 2017-ongoing (joint supervision with Proessor Xu Jiliang, based at Beijing Forestry University, China): Patterns and Drivers Of Wild Meat and Resource Utilisation In The High Niger National Park, Guinea, West Africa
  • Thirza Loffeld 2016-ongoing (joint supervision with Dr Bob Smith, Dr Simon Black, Dr Susan Cheyne (Borneo Nature Foundation), Dr Madhu Rao (Wildlife Conservation Society)): Professional development in wildlife conservation: identifying gaps and barriers from case studies in developing countries
  • Dave Seaman 2018-ongoing (joint supervision with Dr Matthew Struebig): Understanding orang-utan habitat use and connectivity across human-modified landscapes to inform effective land-use planning
  • Katie Spencer 2019-ongoing (joint supervision with Dr Matthew Struebig): Interactions between environmental change and exploitation on Borneo’s mammalian megafauna

Alumni

  • Rosa Garriga, PhD awarded 2018 (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain): Human-Chimpanzee Co-Existence in Non-Protected Areas in Sierra Leone, West Africa

Professional

Member of/Appointments

Last updated