Monkeys helped MSc Graduate with her Thesis
A love for animals is what spurred Ms Robyn Khoury to pursue a Masters degree in Zoology … she made it her business to study monkeys.
Khoury graduated with an MSc cum laude, her research focused on whether vervet monkeys eaves-dropped on bird alarm calls!
She used a method of giving up densities to determine a small scale landscape of fear for free ranging vervet monkeys, which she then manipulated with playbacks of various bird alarm calls.
Khoury found that vervet monkeys eaves-dropped on certain alarm calls, and more importantly, interpreted the calls in relation to where they came from.
She attributes some of her success to the strong support structure she had during her studies. With no specific role model, Khoury rather tends to admire specific traits of people and tries to emulate them. For instance, the passion and knowledge of her supervisors, her parent’s relationship and the carefree and loving-life attitude of her friends keep her inspired.
She thoroughly enjoyed her two years as an MSc student. ‘The project had its ups and downs and I can literally say that blood, sweat and tears went into it, but it was ultimately very rewarding. I am constantly surprised at how much I have learned, which has put me in a great position in the working world. Additionally, all the other aspects I was able to get involved in during my MSc years – sports, tutoring and dancing – made it entirely worthwhile.’
Khoury’s plans for the future include a strategy to work with or for animals. She has recently started a job in Cape Town as a Manager at a wildlife consultancy company, and plans to continue there for the foreseeable future.
- Swasti Maney