It is now probably high time to say goodbye to the supposed absolute dichotomy between humans and animals. As humans, we are ourselves members of the animal kingdom. Therefore, that humans remain pitted against nature makes no sense. Human must be part of Nature. Buddhism is the cultural background to the Japanese way of thinking. In Buddhist tradition, all living creatures are interconnected and, in reincarnation, interchangeable. A human can be born into the next life as an insect, or a bird; then in the next again life, once more as a human. The word ‘Wildlife’ in this sense does not refer to wild animals as separate to humans, as in the Western tradition, but instead means the web of living organisms, including humans, who have shared and will continue to share planet Earth. The leading graduate program in Primatology and Wildlife Science (PWS) aims to create a new integrated discipline of ‘Wildlife Science’ based on fieldwork to further our understanding of human nature, as well as that of wild animals.
The phrase "Let the data speak" is the catchphrase of field workers in our graduate school. The graduate students are encouraged to broaden and deepen their interests based on their curiosity about certain phenomena that they encounter in the field. They are directed to collect data by following their intuition and curiosity, and especially first-hand data concerning forms of phenomena that have gone unnoticed. Underlying the emphasis on this approach is a tacit understanding that we should refrain by all means from squeezing the young hopefuls of learning, full of growth potential, into a small number of molds.
In nature organism do not live in vacuums, within their ecological and social niche they interact with other animals, plants and pathogens at the macro and micro level. Understanding the complexities of these interactions requires multi-diciplinary research. Join PWS and find your niche, whether it be basic science or conservation, and contribute to deciphering and preserving the mysteries of the animal kingdom.
My research interest encompases social behavior, life history, and ecology of non-human primates and humans. My research carrior started with Japanese macaques in Shimokita peninsular and on Yakushima Island, and I am currently engaged in field study of bonobos at Wamba in DR Congo and chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest, Uganda. I am also working for conservation of habitat forest of primates and other endangered animals, as a member of Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Natire.
This elegant quote by Rachel Carson, author of the book that helped spark an environmental movement (Silent Spring, 1962), encompasses the vast interconnectedness of life on this, our only planet. Yet, 50 years later we continue to encroach on these often delicate ecological networks of organisms, despite a wealth of scientific evidence now demonstrating the hazardous effects doing so can have. Through this program we aim to develop future stewards of the environment and the diversity of organisms bound within; stewards well-versed in the scientific method and prepared to incorporate evidence-based practices into their future work.
Although chimpanzees are well known as intelligent, political, and sometimes aggressive animals, they are also fascinating animals in terms of tenderness, politeness, and thoughtful behaviors. Mothers are extremely affectionate to their infants, and I am always heeled when I observe mothers and infants spending a calm life in a rich African forest. Our study site, Kalinzu Forest in Uganda, is one of the closest sites to see wild chimpanzees. Please visit us to experience the world of wild chimpanzees.
You can become a friend of chimpanzees, orangutans, and human infants when you continue the research with them. If you carefully observe their behavior, you will better know about their mind. I’m conducting the research on them aiming to become a speaker for them who don’t possess the skill of human language. The studies on their intelligence and its development exhibited in the forms of tool use and social interaction with their mothers and peers in enriched living environments reveal the origin of human beings.
The enormous impact that human activities are having on the natural environment and its predicted long-term consequences for the biosphere has been widely acknowledged by governments, businesses and the general public alike. However, effective action to counter environmental degradation falls far short of what is required to halt, or even slow, the continuing loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. With the Leading Graduate Program in Primatology and Wildlife Science (PWS) we aim to produce a new generation of leaders who are equipped to tackle these challenges. PWS graduates will be trained in aspects of field biology, conservation and wildlife science, and will be instilled with the knowledge and motivation required to promote the harmonious coexistence of humans and wildlife.
Our existence on the planet has been only an infinitesimal span when compared with the duration of time since the origin of Life on Earth. Yet within that short time period, we have obliterated species, poisoned the atmosphere, scarred the landscape, and polluted our key source of Mother's Milk — fresh water. The Leading Graduate Program in Primatology and Wildlife Science is designed to provide research and education for the next generation of students who want to make a difference. To preserve our precious planet, and promote a more harmonious existence between human beings and our fellow inhabits of the globe, we have created a unique academic program integrating multiple disciplines, such as Conservation Biology, Animal Welfare, Evolutionary Anthropology, Comparative Cognition, Socioecology, Animal Behavior, and Social Outreach. We invite you to join us.
When I was a PhD student at Kyoto University, I showed my experimental data to lecturers for feedback. In response to identical data, each one of them gave me completely different comments and suggestions, some in direct opposition. This experience showed me clearly that science is an individual affair; scientific interpretation is often coloured by subjective opinion. Thus, I consider it crucial that students be given the opportunity to learn through their own experiences of discussion with academics with differing perspectives.
Global environmental issues such as global warming and biodiversity conservation have become crucial for the survival of this globe. We need to arrive at sustainable solutions to these problems. The international negotiations are strenuous and challenging under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), etc.
I would like to focus on the most crucial negotiations on climate change and Japanese efforts including her support for developing countries' efforts to cope with all these difficulties. I wish my lecture will provide students with a good opportunity to join these global efforts for the survival of this Mother Earth.
To better understand ourselves as humans, we can study nonhuman primates; living links to our evolutionary past. Behavioural research and field observation of apes and monkeys can provide a clearer picture of the evolution of human cognition and culture. Just as researching nonhuman primates can help us to understand our past, it is our responsibility to ensure their future. An enormous number of primate species are either critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. The Leading Graduate Program in Primatology and Wildlife Science (PWS) aims to produce effective professionals trained in conservation and in promoting public awareness.
Communication is a crucial element modulating our interactions with the natural and social environments. How information is encoded, how signals are designed to efficiently transfer information, how they are perceived and directly influence our next actions, and how they balance the costs and benefits associated with our actions; these are some of the questions that scientists, in various fields, are investigating - including in my field of interest, animal reproduction. During my PhD, I realized that these questions also shape who we are or might become as scientists. As young researchers, students are in a crucial moment of their career: communication among students and with their peers will shape their critical thinking and their approach to Science. I believe that the stimulating and rich environment provided by PWS and CICASP will strongly help students to develop their research program and skills, thus opening up high-standard careers as independent researchers.
Julius Caesar's "Veni, vide, vici" was recorded passed down and remembered from 54 BC till now. We human beings seem to remain the most "intelligent" species on this planet as conquerors. We claim and assume we conquer nations, nature and rule our planet. However, comparative cognitive research carried out in Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University provided scientific evidence obtained by scientific experiments that chimpanzees are smarter than human beings in some areas, such as instant memory. The more than 30-year Ai Project not only sheds light on chimp cognition but reveals a fascinating inner world of a female chimpanzee named Ai as well. Also Ai's son, Ayumu, a 12-year-old healthy boy, beat human beings in an instant memory test in both accuracy and swiftness. This reminds us that every species has equal rights to share this unique planet. Our human obligation to the future is to come, to see and to protect. Protect the environment and endangered species. Veni, vide, protega.
Just as we need to know the human history to properly understand the current world affairs, knowledge of the history of life is essential to understanding the present state of biodiversity. My colleagues and I study fossil and living mammals to investigate how their diversity has been shaped, and how it can be eroded. Answering these big questions requires a lot of basic information about what lived when and where, and how they lived. Thus, efforts to uncover, document, and interpret biodiversity across time and space have never been more imperative. Wherever your research interest lies—genetics, behavior, ecology, or conservation—we all share this obligation as wildlife scientists.