Andreas Koenig, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University
Location: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Chaiyaphum Province, Thai
Research: Primate Ecology and Conservation in Thailand: Training Workshop at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
Species/Topic: multiple primate species
|Thailand's remaining forests harbor important habitats representing phylogenetic hotspots with uniquely diverse primate communities. However, primate communities of Thailand are almost unstudied and primates are not a priority in conservation efforts. In order to address these shortcomings, we will hold a workshop on primate ecology and conservation, teaching and training the participants in field methods. The workshop will take place at Thung Kha Mang, the headquarters of Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Chaiyaphum Province, Thailand) and include 18 participants. The major aim of this workshop is to enable participants to implement their own studies on primate behavioral ecology. It is planned to repeat this workshop annually in order to teach many research officers, lecturers, and students. Ultimately it is hoped to encourage the development and implementation of effective conservation plans for Thailand's primates and their habitats.
|Organizers and participants
Project Report: April 2005
Supported by the Cleveland Zoological Society we, a team of teachers, researchers, and governmental officials from Thailand and Stony Brook University (New York), conducted a 6-day workshop on primate ecology and conservation at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, northeastern Thailand in spring of 2005. With this third workshop we especially targeted the next generation of researchers and conservationists (21 participants from all over Thailand). Thus we trained mostly students and young researchers in primate biology, ecology, behavior, and conservation as well as the respective methods required.
Apart from lectures in primate biology and conservation, data collection and analytical methods, half of the time was spent on practical sessions either as lab or in the forest. These latter parts the participants seemed to favor. During labs they could handle casts of primate skulls and use measuring equipment like laser rangefinders and high precision compass'. For most participants this was the first time ever they could use such expensive materials and equipments. Another highlight has been the hours spent with our research monkey groups (Phayre's leaf monkeys,Trachypithecus phayrei) training how to distinguish individual monkeys and how to collect behavioral data. For many of the participants this was the first time being up close to a monkey, because until not long ago primates were hunted in Thailand.
The participants also got a real sense of the unpredictable nature of fieldwork. When we split up in several small groups to practice line transect sampling, a method used to measure primate densities, some groups met very few primates, returning rather disappointed. Others came back extremely excited having encountered up to seven groups (four different species).
In the end, teachers, organizers and students all were very happy. We plan to keep in touch, to further promote research and conservation of primates in Thailand. The casts and equipment have been handed over to the officials of the Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the Department of Forest Biology at Kasetsart University in Bangkok. These materials are now available for teaching and will be used also in our future workshops. In other words, we will continue the training with a forth workshop in spring 2006.