Name: Christian Kiffner, Ph.D.
Position: Lecturer in Techniques of Wildlife Management
Program: Techniques for Wildlife Research, Tanzania
The timing of the summer program coincides with the start of the dry season in northern Tanzania. This means cold temperatures at night and great opportunities to observe wildlife. Many of the migratory animals such as zebra and wildebeest now return from the wet season dispersal areas to the national parks where they can be observed in large concentrations.
SFS students had their first extended experience with African wildlife in the lush Manyara National Park – close encounters with elephants and extensive behavioral observations of baboons were among the highlights. This week we visited Tarangire National Park – its stunning landscape and rich wildlife are always worth the relatively long drive from Moyo Hill. We completed a wildlife survey (one of the most central tasks of a wildlife manager) of the northern sector of the park. During three exciting hours of counting animals along transects we spotted a cheetah, lions, zebras, wildebeest, elephants in the hundreds, and numerous antelope species.
After the work, the young wildlife researchers relaxed at the Tarangire Safari Lodge and enjoyed an amazing view over the Baobab-covered landscape and a short game drive along the Tarangire river. Back at camp, we are now processing the data that we sampled in the field and will make a poster on wildlife densities and habitat preferences. We’ll soon be able to provide reliable estimates of wildlife densities and habitat preferences of the numerous wildlife species found in this park!