Today was a fecal sample–processing day. We started organizing all of the samples that we would be bringing back with us to Lincoln Park Zoo for hormonal and parasite analyses. We have around 150 fecal samples from which Jordie has extracted hormones using our field-extraction method.
Overall, this is a huge undertaking! Jordie is leaving the project, so we are inventorying our equipment and supplies and purging more than 1,500 elephant and rhino samples that have already been analyzed.
We have new collaborators who will be assisting with the sample processing. Thando is a South African native working for South Africa National Parks who will be checking our camera traps and collecting dung. Two students from Western Kentucky University will be processing and shipping the samples to us. We continue to write grants to fund the project, but right now, we have not been able to raise enough money to continue the project past December 2010.
Elizabeth Freeman, Ph.D., and Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., processing rhino fecal samples to bring back to Lincoln Park Zoo for analysis.