Bonobo radio: Pots and pans and tracking apes

4 July 2013 by Kerstin Hoppenhaus, posted in Primatology

Matthis and Rodolphe are busy settling in at their new study site in the Congolese rainforest and there is a lot more than just the science they have to take care of. Not much time to hang out...

(c) LKBP/Julia Gessner

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Dear Barbara,

The setting of the camp is nearly done. The last thing (the fresh food store room) will be finish soon. Otherwise, we have started to cut the first transects.

Mara send us K. as a cook but there isn´t any problems for now.

We need to stay at Iyaka camp on tuesdays and fridays as it is the porters day. The thuraya will be turned on these days. One of us will also go to Lui Kotale every friday to take money and to check emails.In addition, the thuraya will be turned on every days between 6:00pm and 7:00pm.

We still have few questions about the protocol:

-The meike transect are very different compared to the artificial tracks. We are sure that we have done the same transect than 10 years ago because some cuts are still visible, and Mangos remember them very well. For exemple, Meike 8 is only 2 km long, and average bearings can be surprisingly different from articicial ones.

-Should we record habitats related to each tree?

-Do we record odours as an encounter data (urine odour, smoke...)

-We have seen some human and bonobos marks (cartridge, snares, food remains) when cutting transects. Should we record it or should we wait to start the census (a week later) to record that?  What should we do if we have direct sightings or vocalisations during transects cutting? (as we are on transect but not doing the census and we are not on recces either)

Do you now when is the next plane? We need 2 more pans, Mara sells a pan for 15000fr but that seems to be very expensive. We checked the money and we should have enough to pay a month of salary for 3 workers (cook, fisherman and field worker), porters and food. We ll have very few left over, so we hope the plane will come around mid july. You will see that in the monthly report but the installation of Iyaka camp has bee more expensive than expected (lot of porters from Lui Kotale). We will send it next friday. By the way, how often do you want us to send datas?

The last thing might be the main one, the chocolate was a great idea, thanks you very much!

Would it be possible to arrange a phone call on friday 28th on the afternoon ?

Best,

Matthis and Rodolphe.

 

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Here are Barbara's answers:
Dear Matthis&  Rodolphe,

 we have started to cut the first transects.

This is great news!!!

Mara send us K. as a cook but there isn´t any problems for now.

Ok, just watch out. I appreciated his work a lot when he was becoming "the botanist of the younger generation" He was apprentee with Papa C. and he was really good. Unfortunately he started to capitalize his qualities more than usual and became a pain in that he always wanted much more money than agreed on and was not reliable with accounting his time invested etc. - I am happy he is back with us, but keep all matters extremely clear right from the beginning - and if you have a question concerning a tree - he knows them really well (by vernacular name).

 Iyaka camp on tuesdays and fridays

Ok, will become "our days" for exchange if needed

meike transects

yes, indeed they are very different - at that time we tried to cut perpendicular to small rivers etc. You found the UTM-coordinates for comparison? "old_MM_transectlines_UTM.xlsx"? Do you need any additional specifications on these transects? Length?

Should we record habitats related to each tree?

No, just record habitats every 100m AND for each nest site

Do we record odours as an encounter data (urine odour, smoke...)

This is not the usual thing - but if you find this additional time - GREAT - we could use it for comparison to other signs. Please make sure, however, to note with whom you are out there (Mams, Mangos, ...) as interindividual differences in odour-detection capabilities may be larger then in visual or acoustical detection - and this we have to consider afterwards.

human and bonobos marks (cartridge, snares, food remains) when cutting transects. record or wait?

As for human signs I'd say record them right away. It may be that people go out to remove them once they get to know your transect has opened up their area of use. For bonobos signs I'd say please wait for official check as we otherwise risk to overestimate density. You're likely to be more attentive anyway if you know there have been bonobos when you opened up the transect.

 What should we do if we have direct sightings or vocalisations during transects cutting?

Same thing - you just be happy to notice, but you don't include in data-collection for analysis. If you want, you can use one of these small note-books and just note it down (transect number, time, animal, sign) and one could use it later to compare whether or not the vocal encounters were as frequent when opening up transects as they were when walking quietly lateron. For this however - as above with odours – you have to make clear for each transect opened up, whether or not you took the time to note down this extra information - otherwise this pre-estimation will become an underestimate. - In view of the huge workload you have - however, I'd rather suggest you just open it – do your trees&  habitats and do the other work later on.

Do you know when is the next plane?

Next plane is planned for end of July, however we are in the process of selecting a new Camp&Research-Administrator and in case this person only had time to go in 1st week of August, we'd try to combine refuel& him/her coming in ....

We need 2 more pans,

Sorry, what exactly do you mean by pan? Poêle? Marmite? Please specify - and tell me for how many people - I'll ask in KIN to buy one that will be definitely cheaper that the "generous" offer from Mara ... can't you borrow something from LK in the meantime?
[...]

 By the way, how often do you want us to send datas?

A brief report about how your week was would be great - for the general data-transfer I think one per month would be ok, but in the initial phase I'd appreciate to have it as soon as possible to see whether or not I can work with, we enter the data the same way, it's visible on my
map, etc. pp.

Thank you for your positive feedback concerning chocolate - hope I'll have another chance to send something in ...

All my best from a still (or better said - again) pretty cold and rainy Germany
Barbara

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