Abstract # 3196 Poster # 163:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 23 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


BUILDING A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR PRIMATE HABITAT COUNTRY SCIENTISTS

C. L. Tan1 and S. Atsalis1,2
1San Diego Zoo Global, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, 15600 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92027-7000, USA, 2The Field Museum of Chicago
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Fostering the technical competency of habitat country scientists is an effective investment for ensuring the future sustainability of primate conservation. Acknowledging the paucity of educational opportunities in primatology in host countries, we designed a program aimed at promoting the technical and leadership capacity of local primate conservation professionals. The program consists of short courses and workshops that integrate classroom-based lectures, practical research experience, and panel discussions. Module One, “A Primate Behavioral Ecology Course for Emerging Primatologists,” is an introduction to principles of ecology, primate behavioral adaptations and social structure. Module Two, “Studying and Monitoring Primate Behavior”, combines intense instruction in primate behavior, observation techniques, and welfare assessment with practical application in conducting mini-projects on captive primates. Module Three, “Field Methods in Primatology,” focuses on developing primate field studies using standard methodology. Lastly, Module Four, “Advancing Research and Conservation Leadership Skills,” concentrates on the use of new technology tools to enhance research capability, development of management and partnership skills, and media communications for advocacy campaigns. Testimony from past participants indicates substantial improvement in knowledge and skills gained. Many also acknowledge the program as a catalyst in positively solidifying and transforming their careers. Additional benefits include increased professional empowerment and network. We encourage more Western primatologists to incorporate capacity-building in their conservation programs, and funding bodies to recognize the value of such activities.