16 January 2010

Researcher in the rainforest

UK researcher Richard Moore is working with our team in Java to study the viability of returning captive lorises to the wild.

Rescued Slow lorisSo far, I have spent much time observing the captive lorises and have compiled a very detailed ethogram of their behavioural repertoire. This I have now printed out onto various behavioural sheets in English - for me, and in Indonesian - for the keepers (and hopefully soon for me too!) I have been going through the behaviours with the keepers and teaching them how to collect behavioural data. I think in another few days we will be ready to start the official data collection (although I have already collected a fair amount myself).

I am waiting for maps of the mountain from someone Karmele knows, so that we can find suitable areas to conduct both botanical surveys and nocturnal loris surveys. This will enable us to assess a suitable area for the potential release. I am also planning (if possible) to conduct a similar botanical survey at another site where lorises are known to occur, so as to gain an idea of the suitability of the forest on the mountain.

Richard and the teamWe have had a couple of walks up the mountain in order to assess what is possible in terms of survey methods - and I am looking into conducting the rather novel, yet increasingly popular sampling method known as Patch occupancy. This will be combined with standard transects for comparison. I actually met tonight with a man in Bogor to discuss how to go about doing this. It seems a viable method of surveying when the terrain is so uncompromising. But I will keep you updated on this front.

Whilst up the mountain I collected GPS points, which I have now successfully transferred into ARCGIS, and overlaid a vegetation map (although I am hoping the new map will be a more updated version). Using this programme I will be able to map the whereabouts of the collared lorises and calculate their home range sizes, daily path lengths and any social behaviour. It is a complex programme but I seem to be making good headway with its capabilities.

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