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National Geographic Society

The Arcus Foundation

Global Wildlife Conservation



A documentary short film by

Kalyanee Mam, Rebecca Kormos, Saliou Diallo and Chris Brown

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Bossou, Guinea 2018


Award-winning filmmaker Kalyanee Mam, and conservationist Rebecca Kormos, worked with Guinee Ecologie Founder Mamadou Saliou Diallo, to film the chimpanzees of Guinea, and to speak with local community members about their relationship with the chimpanzees. They gathered myths and stories that describe how connected and intertwined the relationship between chimpanzees and people is, and has been, for hundreds of years and how this sacred relationship has ensured the protection of the chimpanzees in Guinea, especially in the Fouta, where they number nearly 20,000, the highest concentration of chimpanzees in all of West Africa. Sadly, new looming threats, risk to change all of this. Both people and chimpanzees are being pushed out of their homes by bauxite mining, precious resource extraction and hydroelectric power projects. Once sharing the same water source and fruits of the land, both now struggle to even survive in areas where the mining has begun.  Rebecca, Kalyanee, Saliou and now editor and producer Chris Brown assembled these interviews into a powerful documentary film short that tells of this unique relationship between chimpanzees and people in Guinea, and how the mining of Guinea's bauxite impacts not only the chimpanzees, but the people's welfare as well. 

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Pellel Koura, Guinea 2018

"We too are creatures of God. When we were born, we found them here....They have always been here since our birth."


- Ramatoulaye Diallo

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Kata, Guinea 2018

“Humans are not the ones who plant these trees. The chimpanzees eat the fruit from these trees, and then spit the seeds here and there. These grow into trees. This is one of their main importance of chimpanzees here. They are part of those who protect the environment.” 

-Selou Diallo 

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Bossou, Guinea 2018

"We are from the same families as the chimpanzees."

"The chimpanzees are our protector."


- Dounmamei Doré, Bossou

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Bossou, Guinea 2018

"For us, they are our soul.”

- N'yamnama Traoré, Bossou

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Boké Guinée, Guinea 2018

Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Hafia, Guinea 2018

“Before, when we went to the fields, the chimpanzees came to pick up some oranges in our villages. But now, we do not see either chimpanzees or monkeys.”


“We used to be in the forest galleries of the large rivers with the chimpanzees. Everything has disappeared, particularly the chimpanzees. We were together all the time but now, everything has disappeared. Everything ended up fleeing. And the fish we used to catch....there are none left. Everything has disappeared.”

-Amirou Diallo


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