The last portion of my stay in Laikipia was a bit of a whirlwind, but I managed to accomplish my goals for the field session and make it home from Kenya safely.
Sustainability efforts have been on the cultural radar for many years. Increasingly, cultural norms instruct us to turn off the lights when leaving a room, drive a smaller car, recycle as much as possible .
The past week yielded one carnivore excitement after another around here. Things started off with a bang on Monday: a rare sighting of a pack of African wild dogs ( Lycaon pictus ).
Fieldwork continues to go well: we had a record day on the grid earlier this week: seven carnivores in one morning (plus an unfortunate striped ground squirrel, just for diversity)!
The rains have come! After the brief tease of a storm that I mentioned in my last post, we had a driving downpour the next day. Of course, the worst of the rain hit right when my field assistant and I were out in the middle of my trapping grid setting bait, but that’s just how things go.
Mesocarnivore trapping has kept me extremely busy for the last couple of weeks, but the results have been encouraging. So far I’ve had very heartening trap success rates (especially considering that I’m sampling carnivores, which usually yield notoriously low sample sizes).The cast of characters so far includes white-tailed mongoose ( Ichneumia albicauda ), slender mongoose ( Galerella sanguinea ), black-backed jackals ( Canis mesomelas ), and both common and blotched genets ( Genetta genetta and G.
As I’ve mentioned before, my research in Kenya is focused primarily on the effects of rainfall on mesopredator populations, and how these effects may differ in places from which apex carnivores have largely been extirpated.
After a few days spent settling in at the field station—getting oriented with the vehicle (read: learning to drive manual shift on the opposite side of the vehicle from what I’m used to, in a Land Rover on bouncy bush roads), gathering some supplies from town, and doing overall game planning, I finally made it out into the field yesterday.I headed up to the northern part of Mpala with my field assistant, Simon (whose knowledge of this ecosystem is just astounding), to scout out places to set up my mesopredator trapping grid.
Well, I made it to Kenya successfully, seem to have conquered my jet lag, and am exciting about getting my fieldwork in motion. After spending a couple of days doing meetings and errands in Nairobi, I am headed off to my field site in the Laikipia District.
Jambo , everyone! My name is Anne-Marie Hodge, and for the next four months I will be conducting the inaugural fieldwork session for my doctoral research in the central highlands of Kenya.
Mole rats may not be pretty, but their mounds of dirt are crucial for biodiversity
A fossil of a shrewlike creature pushes back by 35 million years the day when mammals first nourished their young in the womb
A raucous flock of Chestnut-Fronted Macaws ( Ara severus ) signals both the commencement and closure of each day at Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS).
Reindeer can spot predators and food against a snowy backdrop thanks to an unusual ability to see UV light
Island animals have been an endless source of wonder and fascination for biologists for centuries, and often capture public awe as well. It is always fascinating to picture miniature elephants and gigantic rabbits adrift on dots of land in a vast ocean, flowers with unimaginable types of fruit, or communities in which "terror birds" have replaced mammals as the apex predators.