On the road again: Ecuador, summer 2013

Hello again all, and thanks for sticking with me through this long blog hiatus. If you have, indeed stuck with me—chances are, many of you have given up. Oh well, I assume I’ve more than bolstered my faithful followers with junk emails.

It’s been a loosely scheduled but still relatively busy few months for me in New Jersey. I’ve worked a lot on some tedious aspects of the projects I’ve been involved with since graduating, and have claimed authorship on my first two peer-reviewed scientific papers in the process. One is the first paper to come out of the chimp tooth project, and the other comes from the project in Chile. If you’re interested, here is the link to the tooth paper (we paid extra for online open-access), and the citation for the Chile degu paper.

First molar eruption paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, USA (PNAS)


Degu Stress paper (abstract only), published in General Comparative Endocrinology: 



I have primarily started writing again because I am going to travel again. I will be leaving tomorrow for two months in Ecuador, working for a non-profit called Third Millennium Alliance. They are a conservation organization geared towards conserving towards a stretch of Pacific Equatorial Forest (the last remnant of this type of ecosystem) and the biological diversity within. They also have a strong partnership working with local communities to attempt and achieve sustainable alternatives to natural resource extraction from these isolated forest ecosystems.

After flying into capital city Quito tomorrow night, I will travel on Saturday by bus to coastal town Pedernales, which is close to Third Millenium Alliance’s Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve. This 824 acre reserve will be my field site.

My main task for these next two months at the Jama-Coaque Reserve will be to work on an ongoing camera trap survey of felines in the forest. There are six species of wild cat that inhabit the reserve: the ocelot, jaguar, puma, oncilla, margay, and jagarundi. I hope to actually see some of these elusive predators when I’m in the jungle in addition to just catching them on hidden cameras, but I am not keeping my fingers crossed. I recall my friend David, who has worked on a survey of golden cats in Kibale Forest (my workplace in Uganda) for over two years now, and has never actually seen one.

I will not have very much access to internet while I am abroad, so the likelihood of uploading pictures while in-country is small. I will, however, try and write a bit every couple weeks, and maybe a few sample pictures. I am now the extremely fortunate owner of a similar dSLR high-resolution setup to what I was using in Uganda for the chimpanzees, so I’m anticipating lots of high quality forest shots! 

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2 Responses to On the road again: Ecuador, summer 2013

  1. Steve Shaffer says:

    Enjoy your adventure, Andrew.
    Be safe and have fun!
    Steve Shaffer


  2. Sherron Laurrell says:

    Have a wonderful next chapter in your adventures Andrew! I will look forward to your hi-def photos from your new camera. If you get a chance to meet one of the fabulous felines you describe, make sure you do it at a safe distance! See you at our next get together once you get back.


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