My field work in Morocco has finally come to an end and this inevitably means I have to leave Azrou, the forest, the people and the monkeys, at least for the time being. It is with a heavy heart that I depart but it was always part of the deal. As a field biologist you know you are only as good as your results and publications and its time for me to knuckle down back in Germany and get to grips with a rather bulging data set.
I will talk about the highlights of my field time and my appreciation of Moroccan hospitality and culture in some future blogs but first and foremost I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to those guys who made it all possible for me.
In the course of the last 22 months I have had 6 research assistants and I have been a very lucky chap. Every one of them has brought a range of skills which have enhanced the project. If you are prepared to volunteer working long hours in baking heat or freezing snow pushing your body to physical and mental limits you need a great deal of passion for your vocation and these guys all had that in spades.
To say I couldn’t of done it without them is an understatement. I have worked
alone on the field a few times collecting data and it’s a tough gig. But to collect data simultaneously across two groups 18km apart would be pushing things a little. So I had to enlist the aid of my research assistants, not just for data collection but they all provided companionship and friendship which are vital as well. The down time and recovery from the rigors of the data collection can be as important as being out there getting the data, if you are not of fit body and mind the quality and quantity of data will suffer.
So thank you team for all your very hard work, dedication and making the experience a very enjoyable one!
I also want to share this video I got on my very last day in the field. I had seen
this behaviour many times but never had my camera ready. Some of the males when approaching a fence like to show off a little; maybe with mating season fast approaching it’s a show of virility or maybe they just like to have fun every so often. Click below and see for yourself: