Name: John Warui Kiringe, Ph.D.
Position: Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology
Program: Wildlife Management Studies, Kenya
The students’ switch between KBC and Moyo Hill camp sites took place on the 19th of March 2012 and went very smoothly, and the groups are gradually settling in their new site as they wind up the rest of the semester. Soon after the arrival of the new cohort, the faculty introduced them to the case study issues supplemented by a detailed field lecture which exposed students to the environmental issues of the Amboseli ecosystem, particularly in the Maasai group ranches, and their impacts on local livelihoods, wildlife and conservation of other important natural resources. Thereafter, they went for a four day expedition at Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the few premium parks and first black and white rhino sanctuary in Kenya. This field experience was well blended with a variety of field lectures. Some of the lectures examined internal and external management challenges facing the park which is completely fenced, thereby curtailing movement and dispersal of large mammalian wildlife species. Further, the insuralization of the park was used as a showcase on the ecological dangers facing protected areas in Kenya and Africa in general due to uncontrolled land use changes, human encroachment and infra-structure development. This ultimately gave students to understand why SFS is concerned with the changes occurring in the Amboseli ecosystem and associated protected areas like Amboseli and Chyulu Hills National Parks.
On Saturday 31st March 2012, students will spend the whole day with local Maasai families which will give them an opportunity to immerse themselves and experience Maasai culture, lifestyle, and some of the challenges they are facing. In the next one week or so, faculty, students and program staff will start preparing for Directed Research work which will last nearly a month, and marks the climax of the SFS abroad study program.