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Updates from the Field: Southeast Asia

Friday, February 2, 2024:

Midway through a thrilling three-week macaque distribution survey in Sumatra, spearheaded by Dr. Entang Iskandar from the Primate Research Center (PSSP) at IPB Bogor University, Randy’s journey took an exciting turn. Navigating through the verdant landscapes of the Aceh province, they stumbled upon two substantial groups of macaques, featuring both pig-tailed macaques (Mn) and long-tailed macaques (Mf), congregating along the roadside.

“It has been a pleasure to assist my long-time colleague Dr. Entang Iskandar (Project Leader) with this collaborative effort between PSSP-IPB and WaNPRC.” -Dr. Randy Kyes
A spectacle unfolded before them as they keenly observed instances of interspecific grooming and an unusual closeness between members of both species. The dynamic interaction between the macaque species provided valuable insights into their social behaviors, adding depth to the understanding of their intricate relationships. Photo: Randall C. Kyes

It is a real pleasure to be assisting my long-time colleague Dr. Entang Iskandar who is leading this important study.  I’ve worked closely with Entang and PSSP-IPB for over 30 consecutive years and I believe this project represents truly foundational work – helping to fill in the gaps regarding macaque distribution and target locations for in-depth population surveys.

Dr. Randy KyesGlobal Conservation, Education and Outreach unit chief

Saturday, January 27, 2024:

On the fifth day of their collaborative three-week distribution survey in Sumatra, Dr. Entang Iskandar and Randy continued north as they delved into the northern half of the island for Phase 2. Their expedition led them to Taman Kera, Sumatra Utara, where they encountered sizable Mn and Mf macaque groups.

Capturing a defining moment, Randy’s lens focused on an adult male pigtailed macaque. The collective efforts of experts from IPB’s Primate Research Center and WaNPRC’s Global Conservation and Educational Outreach (GCEO) unit continue to unravel the mysteries of macaque distribution and behavior, highlighting the importance of collaborative research in conservation. Photo: Randall C. Kyes

Wednesday, January 24, 2024:

Dr. Kyes expresses his pleasure at returning to Indonesia, once again joining forces with Dr. Entang Iskandar for the second phase of their macaque distribution survey. The collaborative spirit is resonating as they work towards unraveling the nuances of macaque populations of pig-tailed and long-tailed macaques in Sumatra.

Long-tailed macaque sits in tree
A highlight of their venture is an encounter with an adult male long-tailed macaque, captured in a moment of grace. The collective efforts and camaraderie between research partners contribute significantly to their shared goal of understanding and conserving the biodiversity of Sumatra. Photo: Randall C. Kyes

Monday, December 25, 2023:

Baby rhesus monkey on tree branch
As the curtain falls on the 2023 field season at Wat Phrabuddhabat Pa Reau in Chiang Rai, Thailand, a heartwarming scene unfolds – an infant rhesus macaque preparing for a daring leap. This memorable moment serves as a fitting conclusion to a season of discoveries and underscores our commitment to exploring human-primate conflict and coexistence. Photo: Randall C. Kyes

Looking forward to 2024, Randy and research scientist Dr. Pensri (“Elle”) Kyes along with partners at Mahasarakham University and Mae Fah Luang University promise to delve deeper into the intricate dynamics of the relationship between humans and wild monkeys. The journey continues, and their shared dedication to bridging the gap between humans and primates propels them into the new year with enthusiasm and determination.