Field Methods in Primatology - Field Course in Paraguay

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Rebecca Smith

Jul 23, 2021, 8:05:09 AM7/23/21
to Primate-Programs
Fundación Para La Tierra (PLT) is a Paraguayan conservation NGO focused on the conservation of Paraguay’s endangered habitats through scientific research, education and community engagement. PLT runs the country’s only long-term primate research projects. The Field Methods in Primatology course is an intensive introduction to field primatology with particular focus on the hooded capuchin (Sapajus cay) in the Paraguayan Atlantic Forest and the black-&-gold howler monkey (Alouatta caraya) the humid Chaco and in a city environment. The course offers budding primatologists the perfect opportunity to gain hands-on experience of a range of field techniques in very different environments.

The course is led by PLT’s primatologist National Geographic Explorer Rebecca Smith. Rebecca is the only professional primatologist in Paraguay. She has worked with primates in captive and wild settings in four countries and has lived in Paraguay working with the hooded capuchin in the Paraguayan Atlantic Forest for the past 9 years.

The course introduces students to primatology through lectures, field exercises, discussion groups, active participation in Paraguay’s only long-term primate field study and independent research. The course is split between San Rafael “National Park” and the city of Pilar (Para La Tierra’s Centro IDEAL base). Students will participate in a series of lectures including primate taxonomy, study design, primatology in Paraguay and Atlantic Forest conservation. Students will be introduced to Pilar’s urban howler monkey population and learn a variety of data collection techniques. In the Paraguayan Atlantic Forest of San Rafael, students will participate in the long-term capuchin research project while learning field skills including, but not limited to, camera trapping, VHF telemetry and primate habituation techniques.

The final 10 days will be spent in Pilar and will include lecture and practical work relating to distance sampling and census methods, non-invasive biological sample collection, parasite analysis and social network analysis. During the final four days students will plan and carry out their own study on the urban howler monkeys, collecting at least 20 hours of data before presenting their results to the group. 

There are 8 positions available on the October/November 2021 course.


This course is perfect for undergraduates who are thinking about a career in primatology, tropical conservation or studying animal behaviour or anyone who is passionate about primates and wishes to enhance their knowledge and practical skills. You must be at least 18 years old. 

For more information visit

To apply send your CV and a cover letter to


$2295 for course tuition, 3 meals per day and afternoon snack, lodging at the Centro IDEAL and San Rafael research stations and transportation to San Rafael from Pilar. If you book before the 15th September 2021 you can take advantage of our early bird price of $1995.

Airfares to Paraguay, hotel costs on the first night, travel insurance and vaccinations are not included. 

Start and End dates.

17th October- 7th November 2021

You must arrive in Asunción the day before the course starts.
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