Overview of What We Do

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

Our activities are focused 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 47 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)

In order to better understand their life-histories, we monitor these species’ demography (births, deaths, emigrations), social behaviors, ecologies as well as other phenomena.

  • An expert staff of 4 Sri Lankan naturalists assists in recording field observations of behavior and ecological data.  Office and maintenance personnel round out our team of permanent staff.  Visiting colleagues, students, interns, and laymen come to learn and assist in the research. Our Field Research Center serves for logistic support and accommodations for all research personnel and visitors.Learn more

Conservation Overview

Our research is carried out in a habitat country where threats to nature conservation loom large.  Therefore, the PBP provides leadership in conservation action.

  • We have establishment a non-profit company, the Association for the Conservation of Primate Diversity (ACPD) that was underwritten by local leaders in business, education and science.  It is a vehicle for effective coordination of efforts both locally and internationally.
  • We assist local authorities in conservation interventions (prevention of poaching and tree felling) and the reduction of human-monkey conflict.
  • We have written contributions to wildlife management manuals, and have participated in training programs for conservation and wildlife managers.
  • Effective conservation requires political support, which in turn rests on a public aware of conservation issues.  We have invested considerable effort in public education at the local and international levels.

For further details see conservation

Education Overview

The best way to motivate 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 have disseminated our scientific discoveries about the marvels of monkey society by way of documentary films, some of which have won international prizes. Our most recent film “Monkey Kingdom” was produced by Disney Nature and was shown in movie theaters internationally.
  • Locally, our Field Research Station at Polonnaruwa is a center for conservation education and action.
  • We also reach out and enlighten the community about the wealth of their biological heritage at a site that is already renowned for its religious and cultural history.
  • We invite laymen to visit and/or participate as volunteers in our work. Our Field Research Station provides accommodation, food and local transport to visitors.
  • Colleagues, students, interns and volunteers from many institutions and countries have participated in our program.

For further details  see education