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Screenshot from Google Street View trek of Gombe National Park showing mother chimpanzee with her child
Screenshot from Google Street View trek of Gombe National Park showing mother chimpanzee with her child
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You can now hang out with wild chimpanzees on Google Maps

The closest you can get without being a conversationist like Dr. Jane Goodall

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Google's Street View feature has already transported us from our humble desks to many incredible places around the globe, giving us panoramic virtual views of everywhere from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. But now it's letting us do do something we've always dreamed of: hang out with chimpanzees in their natural habitat. As shown off in the teaser video below, Google's newest Street View "trek" lets you look around Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, Africa, home to a population of over 100 wild chimpanzees (one of whom is named Google!). But these aren't any ordinary simians: they're the longest and most studied chimpanzee population in history thanks to the pioneering work of English conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, who began her research in the area in 1961 and rocked the world with her observation of chimpanzees using tools.

Google worked with Goodall and other local researchers to create its new Street View trek through the park, a voyage that required two researchers to wear Google's 42.5-pound Trekker backpacks deep into the African rainforest, as Smithsonian Magazine reports. Goodall says in a statement that she hopes the resulting view of chimpanzees — who share 98 percent of their DNA with humans — will inspire others to support conservation efforts. "What I learned in my years of research at Gombe inspired and enriched me," Goodall writes. "I hope that your journey through this website and the Street View imagery takes you on a similar voyage of learning and discovery." Seeing a mother chimpanzee, Glitter, carry her daughter, Gossamer, on piggyback (top), should be enough to inspire and enrich any desk-dwelling human out there. Check out some of our favorite shots from the new set of images below, and see the entire series and more information on chimpanzees at Google Maps.

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