The State of the Mega Rice (and more)

Yesterday a couple of us went to our Mega Rice camp to see what’s going on out there.  Dave (head of the kelasi project), Luke (new OuTrop primate scientist), Supian (kelasi field assistant extraordinaire) and I took some motorbikes from camp out to the site, which took about 45 minutes and resulted in nice sunburns for 3/4 of us.  Our two main goals were to check out the state of the camp to see if it was still fit for volunteers to stay there, and to scope out the existing transect system to see what else needs to be done. Dave got a grant to do kelasi surveys at the site, which involve walking a grid of transects with a team of people twice a day to look for the monkeys. Unfortunately that requires a grid of transects, which we don’t yet have.  Luckily Yanto, who knows everything about everything, thinks that it’s probably not too difficult or expensive to get Dave’s grid cut within a reasonable amount of time.  Looks like surveys are a go!

The camp looks fine too.  It’s a bit more flooded than last year but all of the essential parts are still there.  It was kind of surreal- in a good way- to be sitting in the exact same place, eating the exact same food and making the exact same jokes with the same people one year after the last time I was there.  Luckily in a few days I get to do that allll day!  But as for now, today is the big fun day with volunteers. We’re going to an orangutan sanctuary and then to a Western-style hotel to use their nice outdoor swimming pool.  Last night we went to the Western restaurant in the mall here, and the vols went crazy! I think they’ve been missing the comforts of home, so hopefully this weekend they can recharge their batteries and get ready for the next 4 weeks in the forest.

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