Central Washington University (CWU) invites you to a virtual global primatology conference, which will convene experts on Lemurs, Lorises, Tarsiers, Monkeys, and Apes from around the world. Our extraordinary line-up of presentations will allow attendees the opportunity to visit and learn about a diverse array of primate species and the research and conservation work being done in sanctuaries, zoos, and natural environments across the world. Each presentation will be followed by 30 minutes for questions and interaction, allowing attendees the opportunity to connect in meaningful ways with leading primatologists. CWU, among the few universities in the United States offering undergraduate and graduate education in primatology, is well positioned to connect students with professionals in the field. For more information on primatology at CWU, please see: https://www.cwu.edu/primate/
March 22, 2021, 8:00 AM - March 26, 2021, 5:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Schedule (Pacific Time)
Monday, March 22nd
Dr. Anna Nekaris
Dr. Anna Nekaris is a Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, with a focus on Asia's slow and slender lorises. Her studies cover all species, including seven she named or elevated from subspecies. She is the director of the Little Fireface Project and convenor of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group. Anna’s research on lorises ranges from behavioral ecology in zoos, rescue centers and in the wild, museum studies, genetics, acoustics, taxonomy, conservation education and toxinology, including how this bizarre primate is one of the only mammals that produces venom. She has published nearly 250 papers on these topics. Her field study of the Critically Endangered Javan slow loris began in 2011, making it the longest term study of a strepsirrhine primate outside of Madagascar. She has supervised 27 PhD students and 112 MSc and MRes students to completion. Anna is also the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Folia Primatologica, the journal of the European Society of Primatology and a member of the IUCN Primates Specialist Group.
Dr. Marni LaFleur is the Founder and Director of Lemur Love (a small US-based non-profit) and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of San Diego. She is interested in the evolution of female dominance in lemurs and conducts research on the behavioral ecology of wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Additionally, she studies the capture and trade of lemurs (and other wildlife) within Madagascar. Through Lemur Love, Dr. LaFleur aims to increase Malagasy representation in conservation and science, amplify the voices of Malagasy women, improve rural livelihoods through small-scale development, and ultimately preserve Madagascar’s biodiversity.
The Duke Lemur Center was founded in 1966 on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC, the Duke Lemur Center is a world leader in the study, care, and protection of lemurs – Earth’s most threatened group of mammals. The Duke Lemur Center has more than 200 animals across 14 species and is the world’s largest and most diverse population of lemurs outside their native Madagascar. Their mission is to advance science, scholarship, and biological conservation through non-invasive research, community-based conservation, and public outreach and education. Dr. Erin Ehmke, Ph.D., is the director of research at the Duke Lemur Center and will be discussing non-invasive research practices at the Duke Lemur Center. If students are interested in creating their own research projects and/or participating in the Research Intern program, Dr. Ehmke is the individual whom they would contact.
Dr. Myron Shekelle began studying tarsiers in 1993, and his first grant proposal reviews came back with a comment, “Shekelle has outlined a career’s worth of work”. 28 years later he is approaching the answer to his first set of objectives: how many tarsier species are on Sulawesi and surrounding islands? When he began, textbooks often listed 1-3. Now the evidence is that there are 16 or more. As a member of the IUCN Red List, Species Survival Commission, Primate Specialist Group, he has the responsibility for the Red List assessments for all tarsiers, as well as all of the other primates from Sulawesi (26 assessments in all). Shekelle pioneered the use of systematic sampling of wild tarsier populations for genetic, acoustic, and morphologic data, and comparing those results with regional biogeographic patterns. Thus, his is an integrated research and conservation program that begins with field surveys, continues through to the naming of the new taxa, and then writing the conservation assessments for them all. Currently based in Bellingham, Washington, where he is an Instructor and Research Associate in Biology at Western Washington University, he has spent more than 14 years living and working in Indonesia, including more than 10 in Indonesia, with additional years in Singapore and Korea.
Kuenzang received his BS in Sustainable Development from Royal University of Bhutan and recently defended his thesis on Extirpation Risk of the Endangered Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Central Bhutan.
Sayli Sawant received their masters from Forest research institute Dehradun India. Their masters dissertation thesis was on the serpent eagles from Andaman Islands. Sayli is now a doctoral student in the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Their doctoral research involves studying rhesus macaques in natural and human dominated landscapes.
Nirmal Nath completed a master’s degree in anthropology from university of Delhi, India. They also worked as a research assistant for four months in a project titled “Tool-use and object manipulation in Nicobar long-tailed macaques”, governed by “Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali, Punjab, India and funded by “International Primatological Society” and “Leakey Foundation”. The field was set up at Great Nicobar islands, Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, India. Nirmal is interested in pursuing a PhD in ‘primate cognitive evolution’ especially ‘reciprocity’, ‘altruism’ and ‘morality’. They aim to draw out evidence which could in understanding the origin and importance of ‘reciprocity’ in social relations. To achieve this they chose ‘rhesus macaques’ as the prime species for their research. Social behavior of primates especially ‘cooperation and coalition’ and ‘evolutionary biology’ is their passion.
Founded in January 2016, the Langur Project Penang (LPP) is a citizen science-based driven primate conservation project, under the umbrella of the Malaysian Primatology Society (MPS). LPP studies the ecology, behaviour and road ecology of Dusky Langur (Trachypithecus obscurus) in Penang and other parts of Peninsular Malaysia.
In collaboration with governmental bodies, educational institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) in Malaysia, LPP serves as a platform for citizen science research, conservation and education for the community. We are looking to amplify the voice for the Dusky Langurs by continuing the long-term monitoring of the Langurs in Penang, install canopy bridges to assist wildlife in crossing the roads, raising awareness about the importance of coexisting with urban wildlife through environmental education, and continuing to battle the illegal wildlife trade.
Dr. Corinna Most is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University. She studies the development of social behavior and the acquisition of social skills in wild olive baboons in Laikipia, Kenya. In particular, she investigates the effects of maternal behavior and of relationships between infants and individuals other than the mother on infant development. As a behavioral ecologist, she is also interested in how environmental changes in the area – specifically the spread of an invasive plant species that has become a favorite baboon food - influence patterns of female reproduction, maternal behavior, and infant development. Finally, as a biological anthropologist, she uses methods and theories from human development research to draw comparisons between the processes observed in baboons and those present in our own species.
Dr. Jacinta Beehner
Dr. Jacinta Beehner is a Professor of Psychology and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, co-director of the Simien Mountains Gelada Research Project, co-director of the Capuchins at Taboga Project, director of the Beehner Endocrine Laboratory, and co-director of the Evolution and Human Adaptations Program. The overarching theme of her research has been to identify situations where male and female reproduction come into conflict with one another. In addition to identifying these situations across mammals, she also wants to understand how this conflict plays out in terms of physiology and behavior. The bulk of her research program is focused on female counterstrategies to male coercive reproductive tactics, such as infanticide. Ultimately, her goal is to incorporate these strategies into evolutionary models that are able to predict social systems across mammals. She tackles this research from an evolutionary perspective while utilizing a comparative (i.e., examining the same research question across different species) and mechanistic (i.e., assessing fecal hormone profiles) approach.
Wednesday, March 24th
Dr. Eliana R. Steinberg
Dr. Eliana Ruth Steinberg is an Argentinean primatologist. She works at the Evolutionary Biology Research Group (GIBE, initials for “Grupo de Investigación en Biología Evolutiva” in Spanish) at Buenos Aires University and is a researcher at CONICET. Her current work focuses on Evolutionary Genetics and Systematics in Platyrrhini. She had studied the complex evolution and meiotic behavior of the multiple sex chromosome systems in howler monkeys (genus Alouatta). She uses cytomolecular tools on both somatic and germ cells to study chromosomal evolution in New World Monkeys as well as to understand the chromosomal changes that occurred in the Y chromosome along the divergence between New and Old World Primates.
Primarily Primates was founded in 1978, making it the first primate sanctuary in North America and the first to rescue chimpanzees requiring lifetime care following medical research. PPI’s devoted staff supports all dimensions of animal life from diet to medical care to social-behavior management. Staff perform daily animal assessments, including behavior & physical checkups, for illness prevention and social-behavior management. PPI has an innovative enrichment program to promote natural wild behaviors and mental stimulation. To ensure each day is unique, staff provides daily food enrichment treats using a variety of ingredients and enrichment methods that allow the animals to resourcefully seek food as they would in nature. Additionally, sensory enrichment activities like burning incense, playing music and painting are also offered to stimulate animal residents and prevent boredom.
Eleonore's Lab of Ecology and Behavior of Mammals from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil submitted a video on their research. Eleonore has worked here since 1987 and their lab also includes research on other mammals, such as carnivores and small mammals.
Rílary da Silva José is a biologist, specialist in Environmental Managing from Agriculture College of University of São Paulo. She is also a Master's student in Ecology at the State University of Campinas, and she studies the diet and behaviour ecology of red howler monkeys. She has experience in species distribution modelling, biology conservation and Protected Areas in Amazon Rain Forest, Brazil. Acting mainly in themes like endangered species, environmental education, animal behavior, climate change effects, environmental impacts of iron mining in Mariana disaster and Public Policy in Protected Areas.
Igor is a Venezuelan field biologist with an affinity for wildlife. His experiences are primarily with birds, amphibians, and reptiles, although he has also had experiences with spider monkeys. He is interested especially in learning about mammals in their natural habitat. In addition to observation, rescue, and conservation work, he has contributed to the photographic record and audiovisual production aimed at the environmental education. Igor would like to raise awareness about the role of human beings in planetary ecology and health. He also aspires to link his photographic and cultural promotion experience with the dissemination of scientific and social research.
"Soy Andrea Zeballos Mora, bachiller en Medicina Veterinaria de Lima-Perú. Tengo 3 años cuidando a primates neotropicales en cautiverio. Soy socia del Equipo Primatológico del Perú y vengo trabajando en dos proyectos de investigación: Patrones conductuales en una pareja de monos tocón (Plecturocebus discolor) del Parque de las Leyendas, y Hallazgos electrocardiográficos en 4 especies de monos neotropicales bajo cuidado humano. Además tengo una página " Entre plumas & colas" donde comparto datos y cuidados en distintas especies de primates del nuevo mundo."
Dr. Laura Abondano is currently a research Fellow at UT Austin working with her former advisor, Dr. Anthony Di Fiore, in continuing her research on lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii) in Ecuador. She is also currently expanding her research to work in the development of community-led conservation initiatives for the protection of the endangered gray woolly monkeys (L. l. cana) in Perú. Her past work also involves working with spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth and A. hybridus) in Ecuador and Colombia. Her research combines field- and laboratory-based methods to understand the ecological, physiological, and genetic factors that influence reproductive strategies in nonhuman primates, particularly with an eye toward understanding our own human sexual behaviors.
Pre-Recorded Showing: María Fernanda Álvarez Velazquez
María Fernanda Álvarez Velazquez graduated from the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) with a degree in Veterinary Medicine, and she is currently working on her Master’s of Science degree in the Instituto de Ecología (INECOL) in Mexico. As well she has been selected for the 2022 IPS (International Primatological Society) Pre-Congress Training Programme. Additionally, she is a member of the Group for Transdisciplinary Studies in Primatology of the INECOL, and she is the producer and writer of the podcast “Monos en las Ramas”. She is interested in knowing how the anthropological activities affect the populations of wild primates in her country. Her video discusses her research titled "Effects of lead exposure in fecal cortisol levels in Alouatta pigra: an endangered species of primate."
Pacific Primate Sanctuary (PPS) is a volunteer-based, nonprofit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the protection, preservation and permanent care of threatened, endangered, and distressed primates. Since 1984, the Sanctuary has maintained a federally authorized facility for New World monkeys, many of whom have been rescued from research laboratories, the exotic pet trade, and tourist attractions. At PPS, the needs of the primates are first and foremost. Each primate receives the best care possible for his or her physical, psychological and social well-being. The monkeys are treated with respect, compassion, and empathy. They are provided the housing, social grouping, nutrition, and care that best benefit and facilitate their innate, natural behavior.Pacific Primate Sanctuary provides refuge and rehabilitation, creating naturalistic habitats where primates have recovered from the trauma and abuse they suffered. The monkeys are nurtured with dedicated care and provided an abundance of organically grown food and forage in an ideal subtropical climate.
Dr. Kirsty Graham studies great ape gestures and has worked primarily with wild bonobos at Wamba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, but is now excited to be expanding to work with other species and communities as well. Their research takes a broad approach to catalogue the full repertoire of gesture types, and to determine the meanings for these gesture types. They are currently interested in examining ambiguous gesture types and learning how great apes interpret those gestures that have multiple meanings. Dr. Graham is a Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews, UK.
Dr. Lydia Hopper directs the non-invasive behavioral and cognitive research conducted with primates living at Lincoln Park Zoo. Her research focuses on understanding how primates learn and innovate new skills, either through trial-and-error problem solving or by watching and copying others. Dr. Hopper directs the Fisher Center’s long-term touchscreen research program and designs other novel tool-use and problem-solving tasks to study primate cognition. She helps train the next generation of primatologists by promoting the professional development of Fisher Center research assistants and interns and shares the Fisher Center’s research by working with the zoo’s Learning department to interpret daily touchscreen research sessions for zoo guests. In addition to zoo-based research, the Fisher Center collaborates with Chimp Haven to develop innovative ways to assess chimpanzee welfare and works with the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project to help conserve wild chimpanzees and gorillas in the Republic of Congo. In 2020, Chimpanzees in Context, a book edited by Dr. Hopper with Dr. Steve Ross, was published by the University of Chicago Press.
Dr. Josephine Msindai is a Tanzanian/Russian primatologist, affiliated with University College London. She works on the rehabilitation and reintroductions of orphaned primates caught up in the wildlife trade. This includes projects both with vervet monkeys and chimpanzees, monitoring their transition from captivity to the wild. Her research attempts to understand the factors that lead to a successful outcome for released animals. She has focused on examining the behavioural differences between ex-captive primates following release and comparing them to other populations that have never experienced captivity. Thus, her interests are in understanding how great apes in particular and primates in general adapt to changes when translocated from captivity into natural forest habitats, as well as understanding the habitat conditions that hinder or aid survival outcomes for animals that are released.
Dr. Austin Leeds graduated with his undergraduate and master’s degrees from CWU and earned his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University where he examined oxytocin variation in western lowland gorillas living in AZA-accredited zoos for his dissertation. While working towards his PhD he was an a Research Associate in the Conservation and Science Division of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, where he conducted animal behavior and welfare research and collaborated with NGO’s in Rwanda and Uganda (most notably the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International’s Memoir Program!). He is now a Research Manager for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, overseeing research focused on animal behavior and welfare.
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW) is located on 90 acres of farm and forested land in the Cascade mountains, 90 miles east of Seattle. CSNW is the only home for chimpanzees in WA state with ten chimpanzees (and four bovines) with a group of six more chimps arriving later this year from the shuttered Wildlife Waystation. CSNW was founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries. See the sanctuary and the chimpanzees live and up-close and the construction in progress.
Doug Cress is a leading global expert on biodiversity and conservation. He was most recently Vice President, Conservation at the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC, managing the Trash Free Seas program that comprises the organization's largest suite of projects that deal with marine debris and plastic pollution . He previously served as Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), in Barcelona, and before that was a Programme Coordinator at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, where he led the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and contributed to projects on sustainable development, illegal wildlife trade, protected area management, climate change and emerging infectious diseases. Before UNEP, Cress spent a decade overseeing efforts to protect great apes and their habitats and address the plight of apes in captivity, serving as Executive Director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) and Vice President of the Orangutan Conservancy. Additionally, Cress spent two decades as an award-winning journalist for publications such as The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Daily News, and the Atlanta Constitution, and co-authored the critically acclaimed book, "In My Family Tree: A Life with Chimpanzees" (2001).
Center for Great Apes is the only sanctuary in the United States that houses both orangutans and chimpanzees. The vision of the sanctuary is to one day see all captive great apes live in a community of care and compassion without the threat of exploitation, experimentation, abuse, or neglect …until there is no need for sanctuary rescue. The Center for Great Apes’ mission is to provide a permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or from the exotic pet trade; to educate the public about captive great apes and the threats to conservation of great apes in the wild; and to advocate for the end of the use of great apes as entertainers, research subjects, and pets. The Center provides care with dignity in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment for great apes in need of lifetime care.
Pre-Recorded Showing: Dr. Aini Hasanah A Mutalib
Dr. Aini Hasanah A Mutalib is from the Malaysian Primatological Society and submitted a presentation titled "Introducing MPS: Opportunities and Challenges for Malaysian primates' conservation."
Gibbon Conservation Center
The Gibbon Conservation Center was established in 1976 by Alan Richard Mootnick and houses the rarest group of apes in the Western Hemisphere. It is the only institution in the world to house and breed all four genera of gibbon and it has successfully reproduced 7 gibbon species. The Center also provides consulting services to zoos, museums, government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and individual scientists on species identification and gibbon care and assists with gibbon rescue programs in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia. The mission of the Center is to promote the conservation, study and care of gibbons through public education and habitat preservation.
Pre-Recorded Showing: Rahayu Oktaviani
Rahayu Oktaviani is an Indonesian primatologist who has studied the behavior of javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch). She received a bachelor’s in forest conservation, and after earning her master’s in ecology, she worked as a project manager for Javan Gibbon Research and Conservation Project that initiated by Ewha Womans University-South Korea and collaborated with IPB University-Indonesia to conduct a long-term project on silvery gibbons at Mount Halimun Salak National Park, in her home country of Indonesia. In addition to conducting regular monitoring of javan gibbons at the park, she initiated a conservation education and community engagement program.
Dr. Michael Reid
Dr. Michael Reid currently works in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Durham College as a Sessional Instructor teaching courses related to disease and society. Dr. Reid’s research interests include virus & malaria evolution in non-human primates and a one health approach. He is the executive secretary of the American Association of Primatology, the primate consultant ROTPOTA Chair for Planet Madagascar, the vice president of Canadian Cameroon Ape Network, and is on the editorial board for the American Journal of Primatology.
To conclude the Global Primatology Virtual Conference hosted by CWU, a virtual Gather mixer has been planned for 5-6 PM PST on Friday, March 26th. Gather is a free virtual platform which works best with Google Chrome and allows you to customize your avatar. Feel free to make a drink or have a snack! Icebreakers will be included in this email to encourage discussion. Hope everyone has fun and enjoys the conference!
You can prepare by thinking about these icebreakers! If you could be any primate in the world, what would you be and why? You have to wear a T-shirt with one word on it for a year. What word do you choose? If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be? If you were the 8th dwarf, what would your name be? To attract a female partner, male capuchin monkeys will urinate on their hands, and then rub it thoroughly in their fur. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to attract a mate? Who is your favorite villain? If you could have a chimp’s strength, or a howler monkeys call, which would you choose and why? The Japanese macaque is the northernmost monkey, capable of living in more than 3 feet of snow, in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s the coldest temperature you’ve ever experienced? What song best describes your life? What childish thing do you still do as an adult?