Distant villages here we come!

Well hello all!

It has been a busy, busy couple of weeks here in the land of smiling people!

So where do we start? Well, how about the trip to Tangkoko Nature Reserve?… After several hours on the road, accompanied by a sweaty back and sore bum/legs (19 people and equivalent mass in rice and biscuits crammed into a pickup!) I arrived at Batu Putih (‘White Stone), the local gateway to Tangkoko, a place, as mentioned before which is alive with Biodiversity and quite possibly home to the last viable population of SCBMs. Therefore incredibly important habitat for this dwindling species, and a focus for our conservation efforts. Soon as I arrived and reassembled my limbs, the peaceful calm and gentle buzz of cicadas reminded me how much this was a welcome and refreshing break from the buzzing city mayhem.

Aside from being completely spoilt in terms of wildlife sighting, this was a good opportunity to discuss our plans for the year with collaborators Tangkoko Education Programme and Macaca Nigra Project and how we can synchronise and potentially support each other in our actions. And finally…a chance to see some monkeys! I was in my element to observe them frolic around, mischievous little ones tugging at adult’s Mohican hairdos, bundles of grooming individuals here and there; incredibly well-habituated. Sadly, Sunday morning MNP were attempting to catch a juvenile to remove a snare caught around his fingers – a stark reminder of the remaining conflict with people and threats even to this relatively well-protected population.

Nestled amongst some frantic grant application writing and preparations, and presentations for the enthusiastic and welcoming Nature Lover’s clubs of UNSRAT University, largely my time has been spent with preparations for the final stage of the village dissemination project (see previous post for more info…). I have had fantastic support for this from individuals joining the research team and others involved with Selamatkan Yaki, so thanks to all!🙂 The field researchers are all lovely and have been briefed on their responsibilities; logisticsarranged; food and equipment bought (minus projector…still on the case with this!).It will be great to finally complete the dissemination of previous research and collection of the new data set in preparation for write up. Our current schedule runs from tomorrow until 16th March for first trip, visiting the four furthest away villages first (epic drive!), then a second trip last week of the month for final two villages. But, as with all projects of this nature, we are prepared for some potential changes to this schedule….we will see!

I’ve got to say, I am really looking forwards to the trip and to meet some interesting characters in the villages, and no doubt be swamped by small children grappling over each other at the excitement!

I look forward to reporting back on our return…for now, sampai nanti!

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