Monday, September 7, 2015

The End Is In Sight

As I am typing this, I have already booked my flight home to NYC. I had planned on going to Duke Lemur Center to do my project for two month but ended up spending the whole summer here. The end is in sight, sorta. I am leaving at the end of this month to go back to my family who I missed dearly.

However, most of my lemurs are still not trained and cannot start their testing. Instead, Meg Dye, a trainer at Duke Lemur Center, will be training my lemurs until they are ready to start their tests. I will then fly back to Duke Lemur Center to collect data and finish this project. I have grown to love Durham and the Research Triangle in general. My leaving is bittersweet as I have a few friends here that I won't be able to see for a long time. However, I am sure my husband and cats are waiting for me to come home eagerly.

Nothing much to update about the lemurs. Halley is doing great with her tests and I am done collecting data with her. I will let her use SMARTA once or twice after I train Ravo so she gets to "play". Specifically, she gets to use SMARTA as a form of enrichment as I've designed SMARTA to not only be used as a testing apparatus but can also be used as a form of tactile and visual enrichment.

The rest of the lemurs are learning to sit correctly in front of SMARTA (stationing). Once that is done, we will train them to appropriate the correct behavior when using SMARTA. For example, we will train them to sit in front of SMARTA and not do anything until the screen turns on. Once the screen turns on, we will train them to only use one hand when making a choice during the discrimination task. We will also make sure that the lemurs understand that they always have to deliberately touch the red square for a food reward.

I will try to share more photos and videos of the research in the coming week. Meanwhile, I am still adjusting to being a dog daddy and raising a puppy by yourself in a hotel room is an exhausting task. But it is worth it :)

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