Ekwoge Abwe, Ph.D.
Dr. Ekwoge Abwe is a postdoctoral fellow in population sustainability at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and is manager of the Central Africa Program’s Ebo Forest Research Project. His postdoctoral research focuses on niche separation in primate species in the Ebo forest (rainforest) and Mbam & Djerem National Park (forest-woodland-savanna mosaic), Cameroon. In addition, Ekwoge fosters national and regional conservation efforts for endangered primates, as well as pangolins. His major role as program manager is to coordinate research activities in the Ebo forest, and to guide conservation education and outreach in surrounding communities.
Ekwoge earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon. He then taught secondary school students before starting a conservation career with World Wildlife Fund Cameroon as a geographical information systems specialist. He subsequently joined SDZWA’s Central Africa Program, working in the Ebo forest with a number of tropical forest primates, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and drills. He went on to earn his master’s degree in primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University, UK—winning a habitat country scholarship in the process—and received his doctorate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, with focus on how genetic and ecological variation are linked with the behavioral ecology of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee.
Ekwoge is passionate about primates, particularly great apes, and was the first to witness chimpanzees using stone and wood to crack open tree nuts in Cameroon—a new behavioral discovery for the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee. In 2013, Ekwoge was honored with the prestigious Whitley Fund for Nature Award for his grassroots efforts to engage local communities in gorilla conservation in the Ebo forest.