A day in the life of a volunteer at LFP

You wake up to the sound of the mosque cascading through the village and motorcycles buzzing by. Stretch, yawn, sniff the air to see if Ibu Ina is downstairs and cooking yet. This may have a significant bearing on your morning ritual as it may take up to 30 minutes before you’re able to boil the kettle to make a coffee. After having determined if there is in fact an Ibu in the kitchen, roll out of bed and navigate the steep stair case descending into the common area. Post haste head into the kitchen whilst attempting to avoid treading on the cats. They will be determined to give you the warmest welcome to the day you could ever hope to receive (though I suspect they only want me for my ability to reach the cat food).

After circumnavigating the cats and successfully making a coffee you make your way into the common area to glance over the schedule for the day. As there is plenty of time before your night shift it’s probably time to work on your project or give the cats a bit more fuss. If you’re lucky however, whilst conducting your accessment of the schedule you may have noticed you’ve been given a task to do such as checking the sleep sites of the different lories or heading to the local school for nature club. Either way it is going to be a full day of new experiences. And before long 4 o’clock rolls around and this is where the real fun begins. Observation shifts. Time to get ready.

  • Get dressed
  • Pack bag
  • Prepare clipboard (decide between ‘Hello kitty’ and ‘Spiderman’)
  • Prepare trackers’ clipboard and equipment

Time to head to the farms and forest. Feel intense jealousy at how effortlessly the trackers move in and out of dense labyrinth of labu and up and down the steep terrain. You’ll spend the next 6-7 hours carefully watching each move and behaviour one of the worlds most endangered primates, meticulously making notes every 5 minutes. After scrambling and tripping up and down the mountain it’s time to head home and to bed. On the way back you’ll wonder about the behaviours you’ve just witnessed before being surprised again at just how beautiful mount Cikeuray can look with the cosmos behind it. Get home. Debrief. Play cards. Laugh. Head to bed wondering what the socially acceptable period of time between showering is and if that even matters to you any more. Fall asleep to dream of the mountain.

  • Ben Tatton
  • Volunteer

Professor nominated for world’s leading animal conservation award

A professor at Oxford Brookes University has been nominated for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize 2018 for her pioneering conservation work and research.

Regarded as the world’s leading award for animal conservation, the Indianapolis Prize recognises and rewards conservationists from around the world who have achieved major victories in saving the lives of endangered and threatened animals.

Anna Nekaris, Professor in Primate Conservation and Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, is a pioneering researcher who is responsible for much of our knowledge of Asia’s secretive, nocturnal primates – the slender and slow lorises.

Slow lorises, the world’s only venomous primate, are found in areas of southern and south-eastern Asia and are endangered due to habitat loss and being hunted for both the illegal pet and traditional medicine trades.

Commenting on her award nomination, Prof Nekaris said:

“Trying to make the public and the scientific community aware of the plight of the slow loris has been a monumental task. When I started my work, the threat to these small brown nocturnal primates was virtually unrecognised. This nomination makes me realise our efforts have been a success!”

Since beginning her PhD in 1995, Prof Nekaris has dedicated her career to understanding the biology and conservation of lorises and has inspired others to follow in her footsteps through her teaching on the award-winning MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University.

Anna runs a field site in Java, where slow lorises are under the greatest threat, and is the founder and Director of The Little Fireface Project – the world’s longest running slow loris conservation project.

The project aims to save the primate by learning more about its ecology and educating local people and law enforcement officers in the countries where slow lorises exist. The research extends to other countries, such as Japan, where slow lorises are illegally traded as pets.

The project team is particularly unique with their work on social media, which is used to thwart the view that slow lorises make good pets. Since Anna’s campaigns, conservation messages now pervade the comments sections of videos shared across the internet, bringing awareness to an international audience.

Anna teaches a course on environmental education and has supervised over 90 postgraduate research projects by students from slow loris range countries, including Java, India, Sabah Malaysia, Cambodia, Sumatra and Singapore. Many of these students now work on conservation projects of their own.

Anna has edited eight and written two books and published over 160 peer-reviewed papers. She frequently appears in the UK and international media talking about her research, including on the award-winning Natural World documentary Jungle Gremlins of Java.

Michael Crowther, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo which initiated the Indianapolis Prize said: “The 2018 Indianapolis Prize Nominees represent many of the most significant and accomplished wildlife conservationists in the field today.

They are protecting species and creating successful conservation methods that ensure future generations will live in a flourishing and sustainable world.”

The Indianapolis Prize awards $250,000 (USD) to the most successful animal conservationist in the world, while five finalists will each receive $10,000 (USD).

The winner and finalists of the award will be announced during the Indianapolis Prize Gala on 29 September 2018.

More information about Anthropology and Primate Conservation courses at Oxford Brookes University can be found on the Department of Social Sciences webpages.