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Monday, September 12, 2011
Nimerudi! (I Have Returned!)
Here we go again! I’m back in Tanzania gearing up for my second field season studying free-roaming domestic dog population dynamics west of Serengeti National Park. I’m excited to see how all my study dogs are doing as well as reconnect with all my village friends.
This year I am revisiting the same households I collected data in last year. In 2010, I marked more than 800 dogs with ear tattoos and microchips so I can follow their life histories (life expectancy, survivorship and reproductive rates) for four years. I’m interested in studying domestic dogs in Tanzania because dogs here can transmit deadly diseases, such as rabies, to people, wildlife and other dogs.
Lincoln Park Zoo has been coordinating a successful rabies vaccination program with domestic dogs to prevent the spread of rabies. To continue planning these programs, we need to know a little bit more about dog life here in Tanzania. How long do they live? How many dogs are there? How often do they eat? So my job is to follow marked domestic dogs in villages with and without vaccination campaigns to determine what impact the vaccination program may have on dog population dynamics.
And so here I am, back in Tanzania with four very full bags of equipment from Chicago in addition to several boxes and crates of stuff I bought in the market. Hopefully this will all fit in the truck!
Serengeti Field Diaries
Lincoln Park Zoo is leading the Serengeti Health Initiative, a collaborative effort to preserve the wildlife of this African ecosystem while benefiting local people. Our Serengeti field diaries feature updates as scientists conduct vaccination efforts, collaborate with Tanzanian partners and encounter the Serengeti’s famed wildlife.
Rachel Santymire, Ph.D.
An endocrinologist in the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, Santymire studies stress and reproduction at the zoo and in the wild.
A graduate student in the department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Anna is studying how rabies vaccination campaigns of domestic dogs in villages around Serengeti National Park affect population dynamics.
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