Bonobo radio: quite unromantic

31 May 2013 by Kerstin Hoppenhaus, posted in Primatology

Picture (c) Matthis Petit

Both, Matthis and Rodolphe, the two French volunteers who just arrived at the Bonobo field station, have experience with fieldwork in Africa. But cuddling little apes is the rare exception in their line of work. Most fieldwork is a lot less romantic.

The rainforest is, of course, a fascinating and exciting place, but instead of wandering and admiring, they will be working on a pretty tight schedule. In order to get somewhat reliable information about the species and habitats in the area, they will systematically walk transects – straight lines, one kilometer each, through uncharted rainforest. Along the way, they will look out for traces of apes, humans and other mammals.

(c) Barbara Fruth, MPI-EVA

And while this may already look slightly less adventurous than one might imagine when one hears „field station“ and „Congo“, the problems they are currently struggling with are even more mundane.
Since the Pactor is down at the moment, they have to use the satellite phone (thuraya) for communications:

21.02.2013 16:28h aus LuiKotale (LK)

+++ Dear B.*, we need a login and a password to use the thuraya as a modem. We tried and it automatically calls the 1722. What is it? Till 23rd, thanks. M&R +++

22.05.2013 8:00h an LK

+++ Dear M&R. Thank you for your sms. Will investigate problem with IT-person. Sorry for inconveniences. Best B +++

22.05.2013 10:58h an LK

+++ Dear M&R, please connect phone via USB. Leave login and password empty. Just press "dial" button. IT here says it should work. Best B +++

24.05.2013 15:00h aus LK - Erste Email via Thuraya!

+++ Dear Barbara,

Today it seems to work… We left the login and the password blank and we called the 1722 through the computer. It seems to cost about 2$ per minute, and we still have about 60$ left on the turaya.

We tried to get the gps waypoints related to Iyaka. The artificial waypoints of Iyaka (20130506-093132.gpx and 20130503-163015.gpx) are readable with DNR as a table, but we couldn´t project them on a map. We can´t read these waypoints on the GPS and Base camp can´t read these files. We currently use Base camp instead of DNR because that seems to be the only way to tranfert GPS points to the dell. I hope that makes sense.

We will continue our training (tree, nests, wildlife, forest type…) during the next weeks in Lui Kotale. We´ll wait to get the protocol to start the census on the Meike transects.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Best regards,
Rodolphe and Matthis +++

24.05.2013 (16:52h) an LK

+++ Dear R&M, thank you for email! I think you have to save table as shapefile to make it visible but I'll try out and let you know next week. All the best B +++

*B = Barbara Fruth, supervisor, Leipzig, Germany
M&R = Matthis and Rodolphe, LuiKotale, DR Congo

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