Name: John Kioko, Ph.D.
Position: Lecturer in Wildlife Ecology
Program: Wildlife Management & Conservation, Tanzania
After a visit to Burunge Wildlife Managed Area (WMA), a community managed wildlife area outside Tarangire National Park, we went to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Conservation here is unique in that the Maasai are allowed to live side-by-side with wildlife. A lecture by the conservation area senior warden explored the successes and challenges of such a unique wildlife management approach. Within Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies Ngorongoro Crater – one of the new wonders of the world due to its unique geology. The crater, about 250 km2 is home to diverse wildlife species. In the crater, we were delighted to see endangered black rhinos, lions, and a host of other wildlife species.
The day after this trip, the faculty facilitated discussions on issues learned during the course, so as to prepare students for the final exam. After the exams, we started to prepare for a five day long trip to world renowned Serengeti National Park – another new wonder of the world. The great wildebeest migration and a large carnivore density make this park unique. On the way to Serengeti we drove through Ngorongoro highlands into the open plains of Serengeti – a Maasai word that means endless plains.
In Serengeti, we spent four nights camping – here students learned the skills to set up camp. We had several field activities that included a lecture on the park management. This time the park was awash with zebra – reminiscent of the migration. Each of the students was able to identify and learn the birds of the park, with some identifying up to 100 birds. We spent time studying elephants and giraffe for students to get experience of studying the species behavioral ecology. Lions, cheetahs, and leopards, among other large mammals, make our expedition a lifetime experience.
After a safe trip back to Moyo Hill, the following day we had a lecture on lion ecology and conservation by Dr. Kissui, renowned lion expert. We are looking forward to the end of a rewarding summer program.