Serengeti Field Diaries

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September 26, 2014
Help Fight Rabies a World Away

Let’s face it. Going to the vet can be a chore. Between conflicting schedules, traffic and doctor availability, simply scheduling an appointment can be challenging. Convincing your dog, or better yet, your cat, that going to the vet is a good thing, can be tricky (Isn’t it funny how cats refuse to get into the carrier at home but then refuse to get out at the vet?). And that doesn’t even mention looking for parking and then waiting for the doctor once you finally get there.

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November 16, 2010
Bye Bye Buyubi!

“Nashukuru sana sana!” Thank you very, very much! It was my last day in Buyubi village, and we were sharing some farewell Fantas and Coca Colas at the local restaurant. I toasted my Fanta to John Kingu, the Buyubi Village Executive Officer, for not only permitting me to conduct research in Buyubi but also for all the assistance he and the other village leaders provided during our domestic dog demography research here.

October 6, 2010
Dog Demo-What?

What exactly is dog demography? Why am I traipsing through rural villages in Tanzania micro-chipping and tattooing poor unsuspecting dogs? I sometimes find myself asking this very question, especially on a really long, hot, 90-degree, dusty, uncooperative doggie day.

I am studying domestic dogs in Tanzania to determine the effect of vaccination programs on dog demography. Since 2003, dogs have been vaccinated for rabies and distemper in villages surrounding Serengeti National Park.

September 28, 2010
Doggie Diaries

“So here I was, sleeping off a busy night guarding my household’s goats from a band of cackling hyenas, when all of sudden there are six people surrounding me and strapping some funny thing called a muzzle to my face! Now they’re combing through my hair and looking into my ears and oh no….what? They want to collect poop!?! And tattoo me?? Yikes! What is going on? Who is this crazy lady comparing doggie lives between vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs.

September 23, 2010
Sit…Stay…Please?

“Simba! Simba!” a villager calls for his dog. Simba appears from some faraway field and begins to trot over. Simba spots the muzzle and leash, stops dead in his tracks and takes off in a cloud of dust. So, these dogs are not exactly trained or used to human contact, for that matter.

We have been marking dogs in Buyubi village for more than a week now for our study on the demography of domestic dogs.

September 15, 2010
Making our Mark in Buyubi

B001, or Awilo, as he is called by his owners, was the first dog marked for the domestic dog demography study, my research to understand the impact of the Serengeti Health Initiative’s vaccination campaign on the domestic dog population. Today was our first official day of dog marking, and we were able to mark 12 dogs!

September 10, 2010
Greetings from Buyubi Village, Maswa District

Yesterday Chunde and I made the six-hour trip to Maswa town, where I begin my domestic dog demography research. These dogs are currently not vaccinated for rabies or distemper, and it will be interesting to compare their population dynamics (basically their mortality and birth rates) to vaccinated dogs over the next four years.

I will be working in two villages near here, Buyubi and Iyogelo. The first village, Buyubi, is made up of about 500 households total and a “downtown” area spanning about one city block.

September 9, 2010
Inspiring New Students

Today was a really amazing day. Chunde Bigambo, who will be working with me studying domestic dogs, and I had an opportunity to speak to some first-year wildlife management students from the University of Dar es Salaam about the Serengeti Health Initiative.

Chunde, who was recently in Chicago for a Lincoln Park Zoo–Wildlife Without Borders training program, gave an amazing presentation about ecosystem health and what the Serengeti Health Initiative is doing to preserve this World Heritage site.

September 2, 2010
Karibu Serengeti! (Welcome to Serengeti!)

A little squished, cramped and dusty, I have finally arrived back in the Serengeti (at least for a short time). This, after all, is only the beginning of my trip. I will be traveling to four different villages west of Serengeti National Park to study domestic dogs to understand the effect of vaccinations on dog demography.

After stocking up in Arusha for staples such as peanut butter and pasta, I boarded the “Coastline Express” bus that passes through Serengeti National Park. Boarding the bus was an adventure all unto itself. You see, this bus doesn’t just go through the Serengeti.

June 25, 2010
Rhino Return

I want to share some photos I took during that big day in Serengeti where we received five rhinos from South Africa. It was really a very big day here, and the guest of honor was H.E.

May 10, 2010
Chunde in the Windy City

It has been amazing to be here in this city!


Chunde in front of the Lincoln Park Zoo gates.

When I came here my focus was mostly on the Ecosystem Health Training course [Chunde and three other Tanzanian field conservationists came to the zoo for three weeks of conservation training through the Wildlife Without Borders program].

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