Hello Monday from red langur researcher, Larissa

Hello everyone! My name is Larissa and I’ve been here in Sabangau for about 2 months now. I’m a Masters student in Conservation Biology at the University of Indonesia and I am here to collect data for my thesis in collaboration with OuTrop.

For 6 months, I will be looking at the vocal communication of red langur monkeys (Presbytis rubicunda) in the Sabangau Forest. In the field, I follow habituated red langur groups daily and collect behaviour data and record any vocalisations that happen during the follow. I’m interested in how vocalisations are used in daily communication of the red langurs, if each vocalisation has a different behavioural context, and if vocalisations can represent individuality.

I was born and grew up in Jakarta. Yes, I’m a big city girl! But, I enjoy nature more than the city life. During my free time in Jakarta I try not to be a 'Jakarta-nite' who always goes to the mall (fact: in 2014 Jakarta had 173 malls)! I enjoy cycling or running on car-free days in the city, having dinner with friends and family, and mountaineering with my mountain buddies. I love being in the mountains and I feel fortunate to live in Java, which is home of many beautiful volcanoes.

Despite being born in Jakarta, ethnically I’m a mix between Manadonese (North Sulawesi), Sundanese and Chinese. I may be the black sheep of the family, as my parents and siblings’ educational background is in economics or finance. It’s sometimes hard to make them understand biology, but they are supportive of what I do, which I think is very important!

I have lived in Jakarta pretty much my whole life. After I finished high school, I had a chance to go to the US to pursue my Bachelor’s degree. I graduated university in 2010 and returned to Indonesia to work as a field research assistant for a red langur project in East Kalimantan. It was my first experience working as a field biologist and one of the main reasons I am so interested in primatology! After working in Kalimantan, I worked in environmental consultancy for 2 years, which was focused more towards policy and planning. But, I enjoy field research more than anything else, so I decided to continue my studies. I’m still unsure of what I’ll be doing after finishing my Masters, but I’m hoping to continue doing research in both primatology and conservation.

A big thank you to OuTrop for providing me with a research studentship. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to do research in Sabangau. I’m looking forward to the remaining 4 months in the field and getting to know all the wonderful people here.