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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Back to Buyubi!
My field assistant, Chunde Bigambo, and I are back in Buyubi Village, a control village (a village where dogs are not vaccinated). We’re tracking all the dogs we marked here last year by visiting our study households and checking all dogs for ear tattoos and microchips.
We need to be able to identify each dog individually because many dogs not only look similar, they also have the same name! A very common dog name in Tanzania is “Simba,” which means “lion” in Swahili. It is not uncommon to have three dogs in the same household named Simba!
Each of our study dogs has an ID number with the first letter of the village name and the number of the dog. For example, B176 is Buyubi dog number 176. So this year, Chunde and I are rechecking each dog’s ID and noting any changes in appearance (such as scars) that can further identify each dog. We need to be able to identify each dog to obtain an accurate estimate of survival, life expectancy and reproductive rates. Additionally, we’re collecting basic dog-health data, such as body-condition score and presence of fleas and ticks, and taking plenty of pictures of each dog.
I’m very excited the ear tattoos and microchips are working well for confirming dog IDs…especially in households with three tan, floppy-eared Simbas!
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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