I am a behavioural ecologist and evolutionary anthropologist. Since 1990, I am studying wild bonobos (Pan paniscus) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I am interested in bonobo social behaviour, their ecological constraints and their role within the ecosystem. The bonobo By that, one focus is on conservation. The LuiKotale Bonobo project site is very remote, and adjacent to Salonga National Park, a World Heritage Site of Nature. In close collaboration with the local population, I develop strategies conserving habitat and species suitable as model for large scale protection.
I have conducted, initiated and lead several surveys investigating bonobos within and outside our study sites. I have lead the most recent large-scale survey (2016-18) in Salonga National Park, DRC, that resulted in a 277-page report to governmental and NGO authorities, informing species conservation strategies. The publication presented here (Bessone et al. 2020) provides the first detailed scientific results of that large-scale survey.
I am employed full time as an associate professor in primate behaviour and conservation at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Liverpool, UK. In addition, I am an associate researcher of the Faculty of Biology at the University of Munich (LMU), the Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture of the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPIEVAN) in Leipzig, Germany, and the Centre for Research an Conservation of the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (CRC/RZSA), Belgium.