In my earlier blog posts and video on my return visit to Siberut, I mentioned that we had visited the Pungut Research Camp of the German Primate Centre and Institut Pertanian Bogor in the far north of the island.
The 4000 ha forested study area is leased from the logging company within whose concession it lies and is used under an agreement with the clan which claims it and in cooperation with the community of the local village, Politcioman. This first-rate site has been operating for several years and can support national and international researchers. It took some while to iron out some problems but these have now been sorted.
The mystery is why so few people take advantage of the opportunity to study the largely habituated primates around the camp, as well as other aspects of the island’s ecology. There are some ongoing studies there, but surely there should be queues of researchers waiting to be allowed in to work. In barely two days there, we saw all four species – the bilou gibbon (the animal I studied for my PhD), the short-tailed simakobu leaf monkey, the long-tailed joja leaf monkey, and the bokkoi macaque – and some of the views we had were our best ever.
If anyone is reading this is thinking of where to do a PhD or Masters dissertation (or knows someone who is), give Siberut and the Pungut Camp a thought. For further information, visit their contact page or write to Professor Keith Hodges, Muhammad Agil and Christophe Abegg.