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Studying primates all over the world

Studying primates all over the world Studying primates all over the world

Sanae Barth, a Japanese assistant professor at the Department of Economics and postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Psychology, who has visited 15 per cent of the world.


Only South America is missing from the list of continents Sanae Barth has visited. Many of her trips were for research purposes, but she also enjoys travelling for holidays. “I like an active vacation; hiking, scuba diving, canoeing. I prefer nature to cities; I love to see different landscapes and animals.”

One of her best trips was to Guam, a small island in the Pacific Ocean. “It’s between Japan and Hawaii. When I visit my family we often take trips there. It’s very good for scuba diving – I have a license and try to do it at least twice a year. There are beautiful coral reefs and lots of animals like turtles, sharks and other fish.”

She also had great experiences in Guinea and Liberia. “I studied chimpanzees’ behaviour during my PhD. We went into the jungle with local tribe guides. It was wonderful to see how wild chimpanzees live and how the local people could guide us through the jungle to follow them. Some of the guides have such a good sense of what’s going on in the jungle. They can hear, see and smell where the animals are and if there’s any danger such as snakes.”

There is one encounter with an animal Barth will never forget. “It was in the research camp in Guinea. It’s a very basic concrete building without electricity and water. You need a head lamp to move around at night and the shower is a bucket of water you pump up from the well in the area. One night I saw a big hairy spider in the corner of my ceiling. I had no tools to catch it. I was so afraid; I put my mosquito net close around my bed and finally fell asleep. The next morning the spider was gone, which was even scarier. The rest of the time I was there I was afraid that I’d find it in my bed or under my clothes.”

There two places Barth would really like to go to, both to study special primates. “I find them very interesting. They’re so different from other animals. I’d like to see the ring-tail macaques in Madagascar and bonobos in Congo.”




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