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Jan 16, 2015

University of Kinshasa & Wamba Departure




The first time I was in Kinshasa in 2012, I visited the University of Kinshasa with Prof. Furuichi and Dr. Yamamoto and met Prof's Mbomba, Malekani, and Mbangi, among others. Mostly I just sat and listened intently. The discussions at the time revolved around a series of collaborative symposiums and the establishment of a primatology program at Uni Kin. Kinshasa has a very strong biology department, but it's largely focused on fish and plants with very few primatologists. Over the last couple of years, they have begun to form a primatology program which is now getting off the ground with several postgraduate students. Many undergraduates are also focusing on primatology, so the next step is to run primatology-specific classes for undergraduate students.

This time, it was neat to see how quickly the primatology program is coming together. On Wednesday, I returned to Uni Kin with Nahoko Tokuyama to give presentations about our research. Tokuyama's presentation was "Why are female bonobos more gregarious than female chimpanzees?" and mine was "Communication Gestuelle des Bonobos Sauvages". It was a fun experience presenting in French; didn't expect to be doing that again after high school! As always, the questions were very interesting and constructive; concerning current methodology and possible future studies. One day in the future, when I'm qualified and experienced enough, I think that the University of Kinshasa would be a very exciting place to teach!

Now the research permits are completed, bags are packed, and tomorrow we head to Wamba. Six more months of fieldwork, then back in July. Can't wait to see the bonobos again and add to my massive video library!

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