Serengeti Field Diaries

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December 17, 2013
Serengeti Food Fight

The food fights that took place at the family dinner table or school lunchroom may stir up some nostalgic childhood memories as we recall someone wearing a face full of mashed peas. However, the food fights of Serengeti tend to be a lot more intense, particularly since the food in question can mean the difference between life and death.

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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].

May 7, 2010
Wine and Wildlife: Saving the Serengeti Slideshow

Guests enjoy glasses of wine as they learn how Lincoln Park Zoo is leading efforts to save Africa’s crown jewel: the Serengeti. See the slideshow from Wine and Wildlife: Saving the Serengeti.

March 29, 2010
Wine and Wildlife: Saving the Serengeti

For one night only, join Princeton University ecologist and author Andrew Dobson, Ph.D., and the zoo’s director of Tanzanian programs, Felix Lankester, D.V.M., as they share their experiences working to save Africa’s crown jewel, the awe-inspiring Serengeti National Park. Learn more and register today!

February 19, 2010
Radio Collars for Conservation

Recently, I worked with members of the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute, Tanzanian National Parks Authority and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority to “radio collar” endangered African wild dogs.

The work was done in the Loliondo and Sonjo areas of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro district. The aim of the exercise was to fit five dogs from different packs with special collars that can be tracked by radio transmitter.

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