Name: Stefani Erdahl
School: Washington State University
Program: Wildlife Management Studies, Kenya
Habari yenu! Today we had our first tracking class… and it was so awesome! We were out in the open, at Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary with a local guide named Babu from the community wildlife service. He spotted various tracks (and poo) that we had to identify. It was really difficult; everything looked the same besides the obvious elephant tracks. It was a little nervewracking being out in the open where there are wild animals everywhere but it was worth it!
We tracked grants and Thomson’s Gazelles, elephants, giraffes (babies and adult), elands, impalas, hippos, dik diks, domestic cats, ostriches, hyenas, jackals, and wildebeest! And we came across an elephant graveyard… which was crazy. The bones were drug all over the place until we finally came upon the larger pieces.
Yesterday we surveyed a 4km area of land for land use and animal conflict issues, and were able to interview local people. It was surprising that the people all said they loved wildlife and wanted to help save it, just not when they destroyed their crops. They were so casual about the fact that an elephant destroyed their crop last night. It must be common. They just said they chased it out with torches, and that they wish the government would compensate them like they had promised for damages. One family has been waiting 5 years for pay!
Today we are going to a cultural boma and tomorrow is the big census at Amboseli! Wish us luck! Kwa heri!