In March 2019, two professional arborists (or tree surgeons) and founder of the French association EnQuête d’arbres (www.enquetedarbres.org), Jérémie Thomas and Laurent Pierron, visited our field station to train our team in tree climbing for 10 days. Laurent and Jérémie created their association with the aim to bring the skills of professional tree climbers to scientists from around the globe to help them in their research.
With over 100 kgs of climbing equipment, the team departed for a long journey to the Anoulak’s field station, which took us about 5 hours on a boat and another 5 hours on foot to finally reach the field station where the team made it its home for the next 10 days of intensive training.
Seven people were trained: Mr. Done and Mr. Chalor, our two field technicians working on the douc program; Andréa, our resident volunteer in 2019 managing the douc program; Camille, Anoulak’s founder and director; Sonya a PhD candidate conducting her research on douc’s feeding ecology with our team; and Aurélien, a volunteer botanist conducting for us a tree species inventory at our field site.
These skills are giving to our team the opportunity for much more exploration with a new perspective of the forest surrounding us.
The aims of this training were multiple: not only it provided new skills and a unique opportunity to our local team, it will also provide us the possibility to set up camera-traps in the canopy to survey arboreal species and monitor their populations as we are already doing for ground species. The use of canopy camera-traps also gives us the opportunity to observe wildlife from a new perspective…who knows what we may discover…!? In addition, as part of our tree inventory and study on the feeding ecology of doucs, we will need to collect samples from high trees that only climbers can do!
During the training, we set up a few camera-traps in the trees as a way to get familiar with the best techniques. We already got great photos, which demonstrate the great potential of using canopy camera-traps.
In the coming weeks, we will be developing a survey design that will allow us to monitor key arboreal species’ populations.
In the meantime, we already got great photos which prove the great potential of this new project we are undertaking…