Maegan Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

Ape Conservation and Rapid RESCUE Fund Coordinator / Senior Researcher for ARRC Task Force, Re:wild


    B.A. Environmental Studies and Religious Studies, Austin College

    M.S. Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University

    Ph.D. Primatology and Wildlife Sciences, Kyoto University

    Maegan Fitzgerald focuses on great ape conservation and supporting Re:wild’s efforts to rapidly respond to emerging biodiversity threats. She is as senior researcher for the [IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group Section on Great Apes] ARRC Task Force, an initiative managed and coordinated by Re:wild staff which provides advice to companies on how to reduce the negative impacts of energy, extractive and associated infrastructure projects on apes.

    Maegan has worked in the Nimba Mountains in Guinea since 2012 and serves as co-director of the Nimba Chimpanzee Project. Through research, capacity building, and community engagement the team in Nimba is working to protect not only chimpanzees, but the immense biodiversity and beauty of the Nimba Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nimba research efforts have resulted in an extensive, long-term genetic analysis of the size and structure of the chimpanzee population in Nimba, information needed to better understand the potential impact that iron ore mining in Nimba might have on Critically Endangered chimpanzees. The Nimba research teams have also recorded chimpanzees fishing for freshwater crabs in Nimba, a behavior not recorded in any other chimpanzee community.

    Prior to pursuing graduate education and conservation, Maegan worked as an outdoor and environmental educator teaching youngsters about natural history and environmental sciences while making sure they could survive and thrive in the outdoors.

    Wild Facts

    • Maegan is an avid mountain biker and loves camping with her family.

    Koops, K., Humle, T., Frandsen, P., Fitzgerald, M., D’Auvergne, L., Jackson, H., Børsting, C., Siegismund, H. R., Hvilsom, C. Genetics as a novel tool in mining impact assessment and biomonitoring of critically endangered western chimpanzees in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea. (2023) Conservation Science and Practice: e12898. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.12898 

    Fitzgerald, M., Willems, Erik P., Soumah, A.G., Matsuzawa, T., & Koops, K. To drum or not to drum: Selectivity in tree buttress drumming by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea. (2022) American Journal of Primatology. e23382. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.23382

    Fitzgerald, M., Nackoney, J., Potapov, P., Turubanova, S. Agriculture is the primary driver of tree cover loss across the Forestière region of the Republic of Guinea, Africa. (2021) Environmental Research Communications. 3: 121004. DOI: 10.1088/2515-7620/ac4278

    Heinicke, S., Ordaz-Németh, I., Junker, J., Bachmann, M. E., Marrocoli, S., Wessling, E. G., Byler, D., Cheyne, S. M., Desmond, J., Dowd, D., Fitzgerald, M., Fourrier, M., Goedmakers, A., Hernandez-Aguilar, R. A., Hillers, A., Hockings, K., Jones, S., Kaiser, M., Koops, K., Lapuente, J. M., Maisels, F., Riedel, J., Terrade, E., Tweh, C. G., Vergnes, V., Vogt, T., Williamson, E. A., Kühl, H. S. (2020). Open-access platform to synthesize knowledge of ape conservation across sites. American Journal of Primatology. e23213. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.23213

    Liu, J., Fitzgerald, M., Luo, Y., Jin, T., Li, X., Yang, X., Hirata, S., & Matsuzawa, T. (2019) Modeling Habitat Suitability for Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkeys in Laojun Mountain National Park. Primates 61: 277 – 287. DOI: 10.1007/s10329-019-00767-4

    Koops, K., Wrangham, R., Cumberlidge, N., Fitzgerald, M., van Leeuwen, K., Rothman, J., & Matsuzawa, T. (2019). Crab-fishing by chimpanzees in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea. Journal of Human Evolution 133: 230 - 241. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.05.002

    Fitzgerald, M., Coulson, R., Lawing, A. M., Matsuzawa, T., & Koops, K. (2018). Modeling habitat suitability for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in the Greater Nimba Landscape, Guinea, West Africa. Primates 59: 361 - 375. DOI: 10.1007/s10329-018-0657-8