David Dellatore

MSc Primate Conservation

David Dellatore

I really enjoyed the independent nature of the course and although there are regular lecture sessions, a weekly guest speaker session, and professors for assistance

I had just finished up my BA in Biological Anthropology from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. I considered PhD programs, but opted instead for the MSc. The course at Brookes has renowned experts who are based on the MSc because they care first about conservation, as opposed to those concentrating first on research. Also, a one-year program would allow me to return to the field more quickly and actually start doing real work that would help primate conservation.

I really enjoyed the independent nature of the course and although there are regular lecture sessions, a weekly guest speaker session, and professors for assistance – largely you do a lot of the work on your own. This takes the form of reading the literature, researching in the libraries, preparing reports, searching for and applying for grants, developing your research ideas, etc. The Bodleian Library, which as an MSc student you are given free access to, is absolutely amazing. Nearly any book or article that you may need, and it is there either in the stacks or more conveniently (and better for conservation) articles available for PDF download.

My project supervisor went above and beyond her responsibilities as a supervisor, even when I was deep in the field and had only sporadic communications, she was always there to help and keep pushing me to go further with my work. An edited version of my MSc thesis has been approved for publication in an upcoming American Society of Primatology book on Primate Tourism and I am also scheduled to give an oral presentation at the International Primatological Society Conference in Edinburgh this August.

Having completed my MSc I am now based in Indonesia as the coordinator for the Sumatran Orangutan Society – Orangutan Information Centre (www.orangutans-sos.org). Our programmes have long-lasting effects at the grass-roots level, changing the way people see their environment, whilst empowering them with the means to become actively involved in much-needed conservation projects themselves. I was offered the job as a result of the work I did and the connections I made on my final project, in fact there are now four MSc alumni working at SOS!