New Field Course: Primates & Predators
This is a unique course in tropical biology with special focus on primate and carnivore interaction, conservation strategies, and research methodologies. Guided hands-on activities during the day utilize wildlife researchers and local naturalists to train participants in a variety of skills, including: scat and hair snare monitoring, tree climbing, radio telemetry, camera trapping, plant identification, primate tracking, and behavioral sampling techniques. In the evenings, these exercises are supplemented with brief lectures and discussions of scientific literature related to the fields of herpetology, ornithology, entomology, and botany.
Participants will learn to identify, track, habituate, and collect non-invasive samples from elusive primate species, while also exploring the intersection between predators and prey by looking at carnivore hunting practices, predator avoidance behaviors in primates, and software simulations of predator-prey dynamics. In addition, participants shall receive an introduction to the methods and tools used to evaluate population stability of different carnivores.
Lastly, this field course offers a chance experience Indian culture through zoo, national park, and bird sanctuary visits, and of course, taste the many flavors of Indian cuisine.
Location: The Western Ghats of India are one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots because of high levels of endemism. Fifteen hundred flowering plants, 84 amphibian species, 16 birds, and 7 mammals occur nowhere else. Our courses will be held in the beautiful semi-deciduous forests at Fringe Ford, nestled close to the borders of the state of Kerala with Karnataka. It directly abuts the Wyanad Wildlife Sanctuary, and hosts a full complement of Indian wildlife, including but not limited to leopards, tigers, elephants, Great Indian gaur, dholes, Nilgiri langurs, lion-tailed macaques, and Malabar hornbills.
Watch a video about the field site at Fringe Ford:
Course Dates: Dec. 28, 2016 – Jan 10, 2017
Registration: Course size is limited, spots are filled on a rolling basis until November 18th, 2016
Course Fee: $2250 (includes meals, lodging, and transportation from Bangalore to the field site and back)
- Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa, Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis)
- Gideon Erkenswick Watsa (University of Missouri-St. Louis)
- K.C. Hill (Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on St. Kitts)