Regular blog readers might remember, I mentioned few months ago the start of a new project on primate tourism. Since then I have been busy in London preparing the project and the fieldwork, and now I am ready to start this new adventure in the field.
The new international team includes me, Celia, Ryan, Alan and Laura. We all come from different countries and have different backgrounds that will make the experience of living and working together even more enriching. Everybody arrived a few days ago in Morocco, so we have already had time to experience a bit of life in Morocco, meet some of my Moroccan friends and obviously the monkeys. Now it is time to start the project!
The aim of the first few weeks is to train the new team. Many things have to be done before being able to collect real data. First the identification of the monkeys in the group, then training for use of the equipment, the methods and so on… When everybody seems ready to start, we check the reliability between observers. If the reliability between observers is over 95%, we can start collecting real data that will be use for the project. The reliability just basically means we check that everyone is collecting data in the same manner and over 95% of all data collected is identical between each of the observers. This way we are confident we are all singing from the same Hymn sheet and data collection is consistent. If not, more training is needed until meeting the criteria.
Celia training on photogrammetry
Alan training on monkey identification
Ryan training on behavioural data collection
We also received a great welcome from the local people who work at the tourist site. I knew them from when I did my previous project on the site in 2010, and they have always been welcoming and helpful. We have already had the opportunity to test the legendary Moroccan hospitality. First, the lovely Moroccan family who owns our flat and lives upstairs invited us for a delicious and gargantuan welcome dinner on Wednesday. Then, one of the occasional tourist guides, Ben, invited us for a traditional couscous meal on Friday.
Next week should also be busy as we already have an invitation for another couscous dinner with Tailbi, another tourist guide and owner of the Gite du Cedre. Sharing these dinners and cultural exchanges is a great pleasure but also all these relationships will be very useful networking for the project. As my supervisor said: ”Hanging out with people is a part of your work!”.
Good start for the first week!
Happy to be back for another adventure in Morocco,