Overview of What We Do

We conduct fundamental hypothesis-driven research in primatology and develop science based solutions to conservation challenges

We focus on three interrelated fronts: science, conservation and education.

Science Overview

Our overall aim is to increase knowledge about the biology and evolution of social behavior in primates, and by extension, in man.  This requires a wealth of information about the many-sided nature of primate adaptations and the environmental context in which they evolved.  Therefore, our studies involve many collaborators from different disciplines as shown by our publications. Learn more

  • Our studies have been ongoing continuously for over 50 years at a site of natural dry evergreen forest, the Polonnaruwa Nature Sanctuary and Archaeological Reserve, in the dry zone of Sri Lanka.
  • We study four different primate species living there:
    • The Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica)
    • Hanuman Langur (Semnopithecus priam)
    • Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus)
    • Slender Loris (Loris lydekkerianus)

We monitor these species’ demography (births, deaths, emigrations) in relation to social behavior, ecology and other facets of life.

  • Naturalists, with expertise in primates, assists in recording field observations.  Office and maintenance personnel round out our team of permanent staff.  Visiting colleagues, students, interns,  come to learn and assist. Our center at Polonnaruwa offers logistic support and accommodations for all  research personnel and lay visitors. Learn more

Conservation Overview

Our research is carried out in a habitat country where threats to nature conservation loom large; we provides leadership in conservation activity.

  • The Association for the Conservation of Primate Diversity (ACPD) was underwritten by local leaders in business, education and science.
  • We assist in the prevention of poaching and tree felling and the reduction of human-monkey conflict.
  • We have contributed to wildlife management manuals, and participated in training programs.
  • Conservation requires political support that rests on a public awareness.   We have invested in public education at all levels.

For further details see conservation

Education Overview

Motivating people to conserve is to demonstrate that nature is worth caring for. We aim to inspire the stakeholders to celebrate, study and protect animals and their environment.

  • Television is the most efficient medium for informing millions of people globally: we disseminate our scientific discoveries about the marvels of monkey society by way of documentary films, some of which have won international prizes.  Our recent film “Monkey Kingdom” was produced by Disney Nature and was shown in movie theaters internationally.
  • Our Research Station at Polonnaruwa is a center for conservation education and action. It supports visitors with accommodations, food and local transport.
  • We reach out and enlighten the resident community about the wealth of their biological heritage at a site that is already renowned for its religious and cultural history.
  • Colleagues, students, interns and volunteers from many institutions and countries have participated in our program.

For further details  see education