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The DPZ field stations slowly resume work

Field research continues
The DPZ team is back in Senegal and on its way to the field station. Photo: Lidia Jiménez

After seven months of a Corona-related break of the field stations, the work on site is now slowly resumed again. The first step was taken at the Simenti field station in Senegal: in mid-November, six DPZ employees flew to Senegal to continue observing the group of 300 Guinea baboons. It is particularly exciting to see how the almost 60 young animals have developed - and whether they can all be recognized.

Since almost all animals are genotyped, the identity can be checked in case of doubt by genetic fingerprinting. Since the field station is located far away in the national park, the employees there are well protected against infections. In order to prevent infections of humans and animals with the novel coronavirus within the station, all those returning from supply trips from the city are to be quarantined for five days. A mouth and nose protector is now, of course, an integral part of the equipment.

Activities in the other field stations...

Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (PKWS) in Thailand:
Since the infection rates in Thailand are fortunately still very low, we have resumed work at the field station. Since the beginning of October, our five Thai assistants have been following the Assamese macaques daily again. Five project members are expected to fly to Thailand on November 20, 2020. After a two-week quarantine in Bangkok, they will travel to the field station to strengthen the team there.

Kirindy on Madagascar: 
Work in Madagascar is back on track after a field assistant fortunately recovered from COVID-19. Since the evacuation of the Göttingen researchers from the station in mid-March, our field assistants have continuously collected data for all current and long-term projects. Thanks to the enormous personal commitment of the secretariat of the Department of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology of the DPZ, it has been possible to send essential working materials to the country, which will enable the continuation of the observations. Since there are still no passenger flights to Madagascar, the question of whether or when DPZ employees will be able to work in the field again does not arise at the moment.

Estación Biológica Quebrada Blanco (EBQB) in Peru:
The two field assistants continue to work at the station. Due to the critical situation in Peru, students are currently not at the station.