Bill Wallauer


Wildlife videographer extraordinaire, Bill Wallauer, lived for 15 years among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Sleeping in a hut on the forest edge, he spent almost every waking hour following the chimps and capturing the intimate details of their daily lives.

Dominance displays, infanticide attempts, enounters with snakes, the mysterious waterfall and "rain dances"--all were captured thanks to his insider's view. Much of Wallauer's footage is unprecedented: the profound beauty of a live birth; the threatening silence of territorial males on patrol, who ultimately hunt down and kill an adolescent chimp from a neighboring community.


Wallauer discovered Gombe Stream Research Center and renowned primatologist Jane Goodall in 1989, while on assignment for the Peace Corps in southern Tanzania. Goodall recognized his enthusiasm for wildlife work and engaged him to help transcribe some of the chimpanzee data. After completing his Peace Corps stint, Wallauer returned to Gombe where his prior field experience and athleticism made him a natural at following chimps.  After he successfully captured a wild chimpanzee birth on videotape, Goodall asked him to routinely follow the chimpanzees and record their daily activities and behavior.

Recognizing Wallauer's talent, film production companies have recruited him as a camera operator, videographer and consultant for wildlife films being shot at Gombe and elsewhere in Africa. He has served as camera operator and scientific advisor for more than 30 productions including BBC/Animal Planet's Chimp Week. He also shot the closing sequence for BBC/Discovery's 10-part series Planet Earth and appeared in the Animal Planet film, Almost Human with Jane Goodall. Currently he is working as a lead camera and consultant for DisneyNature – Chimpanzee—to be released in 2013. 


Bill Wallauer's infectious personality, ground-level stories, and pioneering video footage about life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe make for captivating presentations. "When people see young chimps wrestling, tickling and laughing out loud, they feel a deep connection" Wallauer says. "They think, 'wow, we have to do everything possible to ensure their survival.'" For him, the chimpanzees hold up a mirror to our human nature, which he makes the most of in talks both wonderous ("My 15 Years Living with the Chimpanzees of Gombe") and hilarious ("What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me about Politics")

For more information about Bill Wallauer and the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, please visit

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Videographer Bill Wallauer is in Gombe, Tanzania to cover all of Jane Goodall's events around her Gombe 50 celebration

GOMBE: 50 Years of Research and Inspiration

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