On 5 December 2016, Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute (PRI) and Interdisciplinary Unit for African Studies jointly held an African Primatological Consortium International Symposium at Inamori Center. Around 50 were in attendance, including numerous researchers from overseas.
The event featured oral and poster presentations by African early-career researchers and KU graduate students who had conducted field research on the continent.
Ms Enathe Hasbwamariya, a US-based graduate student, described her ongoing survey in a Rwandan national park on the effects of deforestation on local chimpanzees’ movement patterns. Based on her experiences in the field, she also discussed the challenges of continuing wildlife research and conservation amid environmental destruction, civil war, and other adverse circumstances.
PRI Professor Takeshi Furuichi then reflected on the project he had led since 2009 under the Core-to-Core Program of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). He emphasized that African early-career researchers should work more closely with each other, in addition to collaborating with Japanese and Western scholars, in order to gain greater professional independence.
The Symposium concluded with remarks by Mr Hisashi Kato, advisor to JSPS, who introduced the Society’s Nairobi Research Station and invited all to take advantage of what it has to offer.
The event was followed by an exchange meeting, which opened with President Yamagiwa wishing the young researchers success and urging them to always remember the importance of basic research, whether they pursue careers in academia or governance.
Professor Masayoshi Shigeta, director of the Center for African Area Studies (CAAS), then delivered a toast to kick off the meeting proper, where all enjoyed the opportunity to mingle and exchange information in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Symposium was part of a two-week primate research and conservation training seminar, organized with support by the JSPS Core-to-Core Program “Study on genetic and zoonotic risks of extinction of local populations of great apes”. The program took place at PRI and other venues with four researchers from North America and Europe serving as instructors. Seventeen African researchers participated, attending lectures and workshops on wildlife observation, recording of observation data using handheld devices, GIS-based habitat analysis, DNA and hormone analysis of noninvasively collected samples, and conservation policy development.