Monkey Forest Tales: Challenges of working in urban versus rural areas: Logistics

Over the past two years. Zocay Project had included a small monitoring of primate populations in urban areas additional to its initial monitoring in rural areas dedicated to cattle ranching. In today’s post I want to mention some challenges to working at both areas, some considerations that you may need to think about while planning.

Working in rural areas implies logistic planning that need to incorporate accommodation, transport, landowners permit to enter to the field sites and in some cases additional permits from local actors. Additionally, people working at rural areas usually come from other regions or countries, which means you also need to plan and understand how to deal with cultural differences.

Working in urban areas also implies some of those same challenges and requires logistic planning. Depending on the researcher knowledge of the city, some cultural adjustments are also necessary.

Although, security issues should be considered in both cases, how you deal with and how much risk you can have from robbery is different and you need to plan accordingly. It seems this is not always considered while planning urban projects, especially in countries like Colombia.

In our case, there are areas in the city where we work that we can just not sample, even if access seems feasible, because it represents an additional risk of robbery and in some cases, even a risk to our lives.

So, if you are planning an urban survey, additional to the usual considerations about accommodation, transport and permits that you consider for your rural projects. You also need to consult with people living in the city you are going to work in about security issues related to robbery. For example, which areas are dangerous if you carry equipment like cameras, binoculars, SPS. Which neighborhoods needs special considerations in terms of transport access and council information to allow you to work there. Finally, don’t assume that if you live in that city, you won’t need to plan your survey schedules and consider additional local help, just because you are in a city. Plan in advance financially and logistically.

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