Heungjin, Nahoko, Kirsty, Ulrich - Friends who fieldwork together...
We all study bonobos in and around Wamba, DRCongo. Sometimes there’s only one researcher at Wamba, sometimes as many as 6 or 7, but usually there are 2-4 of us. We work really hard during the day, leaving camp early in the morning and following the bonobos all day. When we come back in the evening, we gossip about what the bonobos did that day.
Heungjin Ryu: My research interest is socio-sexual function of sex skin swelling of female bonobos which changes in color and size depending upon estrogen and progesterone within a menstrual cycle. Field work at Wamba is not easy but very enjoyable. I particularly liked holidays there and dancing with people in the village. People can be a pain in the butt, but are mostly very helpful and provide lots of support for researchers and bonobos. I miss them a lot.
Nahoko Tokuyama: I study female-female social bonds in wild bonobos, especially how they form coalitions. They form coalitions to combat male harassment, leading to the high social status of females in bonobo society. As a female researcher, I have learned a lot from them about how to be strong!! You can read more about my research on Research Gate.
Kirsty Graham: I study how bonobos use gestures to communicate. They use around 70 gestures, 88-96% of which are shared with chimpanzees. When I’m at Wamba, I follow bonobos in the morning, filming their social behaviour, then I come back to camp in the afternoon to do data entry. To relax, I read books and play guitar. Read more about my research on my website.
Ulrich Maloueki: I study the feeding ecology of wild bonobos with a focus on self-medication. I am interested in the phytochemistry of food plants consumed by bonobos. It was a pleasure to meet other researchers who come from another country to work together to protect this primate.