News from the International Primatological Society Congress
The International Primatological Society (IPS) Congress provides an opportunity for primatologists from around the world to present their research and to meet with one another for discussions about their work, conservation issues and other matters related to the study and protection of primates.
This year, the IPS Congress was held in Entebbe, Uganda, for the first time on the Africa mainland. This was a unique opportunity for our scientists and research students, since it gave us a chance to disseminate and share the results of our research. The conference was also a special chance to forward our goal of capacity building for local scientists from Rwanda and Congo, five of whom were able to give presentations at the conference.
Six students, teachers and coordinators who work with our projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were included in the trip to the conference, as well as research assistants and a student from Karisoke, our Ecosystem Health Manager, and a warden from ORTPN (the Rwanda office of tourism and national parks). Also attending were Dr. Katie Fawcett, director of the Karisoke Research Center, and Dr. Alecia Lilly, our vice president for Africa programs.
Prior to the beginning of the Congress, a workshop was held to bring together young primatologists from countries where primates are found, in order to discuss the problems they face in their conservation efforts and to learn about various studies and research in progress. These young primatologists also had the chance to visit a local forest reserve (Budongo Forest) and see a variety of primate species, including chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys. Conservation issues facing this reserve were then discussed among the participants.
Felix Ndagijimana, researcher at the Karisoke Research Center, and David Sivalingana Matsisti, supervisor of gorilla habituation, Tayna Gorilla Reserve in DRC were two of only 16 participants from 12 primate habitat countries around the world selected by IPS to attend this pre-congress workshop.
Back at the Congress in Entebbe, participants enjoyed attending various presentations on many different topics and some gave their own presentations as well. For example, Karisoke research assistant Deogratias Tuyisingize gave a talk on the Behavioral Ecology of the Golden Monkey in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, based on his own research projects. Another Karisoke research assistant, Felix Ndagijimana, presented a poster entitled “Dominance shift between father and son silverbacks in a mountain gorilla group,” based on his work at Karisoke.
The IPS Congress was a unique opportunity for these local primatologists to meet, learn and further their knowledge about primate conservation. All of them reported that they benefited greatly and were inspired by meeting colleagues from around the world and learning about all the work being done to learn about and help save primates. In addition, we were all able to share the results of our latest work at the Karisoke Research Center.