Saturday, November 15, 2008

Which Mine to Mine?

I had an extensive meeting with Cleve and Polycarpe to discuss the mining situation in the periphery of Aketi.

In my original research proposal, I guess I imagined sampling near the new mining camps in Bili, but considering the area is too volatile, and there is no dearth of mining in the area here, the next step is to review the available mines and select!

There are four major mines in the area -- all in various stages of usage and with reflective population.

The amazing part is that there are still chimpanzees near all four of these mines, though how remnant the populations are remains to be seen. There are populations of chimpanzees

The mine at Dulia was once an enormous site -- with the requisite poor toilet facilities of course so, as a sample site, it might be a good place to see what residual parasites from long-term exposure are still present. But I don’t know much about the miners who still mine there today - transients hoping for a bit of luck. Nor do I know about their chimp killing/eating habits.

There are two mines about 30 km away, each with a huge population of miners, but we’re not entirely sure about how close the chimps are to each of their camps.

And an even more enormous mine 90km away --

To facilitate the choosing process, and find a site that best meets my study criteria, I’m sending Olivier and Richard out as a scouting team to investigate each mine first, interview the miners there and do a transect line outside the mine to look for evidence of chimpanzees nearby.

In the interim, I can finish modifying my IRB proposal, to reflect the additional surveys and interviews. I have such a small number of sample tubes, that I really need to make sure each one counts!!

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