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Update from the Field: Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, India

January 10, 2020

Randall Kyes is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Adjunct Research Professor in the Departments of Global Health and Anthropology. He also is Founding Director of the University’s Center for Global Field Study, and Core Scientist and Head of the Division of Global Programs at the Washington National Primate Research Center. His research focuses on field-based studies of nonhuman primates and other wildlife in the areas of Conservation Biology and Global Health, at the human-environment interface.

We just finished our 10th annual “Field Course in Conservation Biology & Global Health” with our long-time colleague Dr. Dilip Chetry and his staff at Aaranyak’s Gibbon Conservation Centre, located in the Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, India.  A 21-square-kilometer fragment surrounded by tea plantations, this small protected forest is home to seven primate species including Hoolock Gibbons, Capped Langurs, Slow Loris, Stumptail macaques, Pigtail macaques, Assamese macaques, and Rhesus macaques, as well as elephants and leopards.

We had 16 participants representing seven institutions in Northeast India, including undergrads, master’s and Ph.D. students, two young veterinarians, and a lab technician at a public health facility in the area (who now wants to learn more about conservation so he can help his village be more proactive in sustainable management of the wildlife populations).


One interesting observation to mention — I was giving a lecture about camera trapping techniques and showed a video of some previous participants from our field courses working with the camera traps. One of our current undergraduate students got a shocked look on her face and stopped me mid-sentence to say that one of the men in the video is her advisor. He was a student in our 2013 field course, and he now teaches at Assam University — and serves as her supervisor! We see this more and more as the years go on.

All photos courtesy of Professor Kyes.