An interview with Mrinalini Watsa: new organization gives first time students a research and education opportunity in the Peruvian Amazon. Published January 15, 2014 on

While conducting doctoral research on tamarin reproductive biology in the Peruvian Amazon, Mrinalini Watsa realized she needed help in the field. Rather than hiring seasonal assistance she, along with Gideon Erkenswick, decided to create a life-changing non-profit organization, PrimatesPeru. The new NGO would allow students to conduct field research in one of the most biodiverse, yet threatened, places on Earth.

“Gideon and I both realized that there was no way we could accomplish all that we wished to do without asking for help – and so PrimatesPeru was born,” Watsa told in a recent interview.

PrimatesPeru’s students are made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, a wide range of ages, and stemming from all over the world. Rather than selecting based solely on prior experiences, PrimatesPeru is most interested in a willingness to learn and pursue accomplishments after completion of the course. This allows for the organization to help others, while others help them.


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This was an absolutely super interview of our work with Field Projects International – except that somehow, Gideon didn’t get featured nearly as much as he needs to be. This is my way of publicly announcing that that’s just not right, people! Couldn’t have done any of this without him.