A researcher from USAID’s Bagh Activity (a project implemented by WildTeam) attended an international workshop titled “Bayesian Analysis with R and JAGS” in Bangkok to learn firsthand about the Bayesian framework, which is believed to give better estimates in wildlife research data analysis.
Bayesian analysis is a statistical paradigm that answers research questions about unknown parameters using probability statements. Bagh’s Research Officer Ms. Mehnaz Jahid attended the 10-day workshop organized by the Conservation Ecology Program of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Thailand. A total of 22 participants from Bangladesh, Thailand, Portugal, South Africa, US and Singapore attended the workshop facilitated by four resource persons from the Biodiversity Conservation Society Sarawak, Malaysia. The workshop introduced the participants with Bayesian analysis of wildlife data with JAGS program in R (a statistical software package). The workshop covered various topics on conservation research, including Occupancy, Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture, Distance sampling, Survival Analysis etc. The trainers used actual wildlife data to demonstrate those topics.
Bagh research team is currently analyzing the camera trapping data jointly with Bangladesh Forest Department. The learning from the workshop will benefit the team in analyzing the data in Bayesian framework to produce better estimates for some unspecified parameters. Moreover, this workshop was a great platform to meet and interact with renowned wildlife biologists and fellow conservation practitioners to help broaden Bagh's vision to implement science-based conservation practices in Bangladesh.