Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, and Rain

Posted: April 11, 2013

Just after final exams and Easter, the second SFS Tanzania expedition set off to Serengeti. In the short grass plains of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and southern Serengeti, the SFS convoy came across one of the most impressive sights in East Africa — the big migration. Thousands and thousands of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles were grazing in the nutrient-rich and green plains. Spotted hyenas and jackals roamed around the plains in search of carcasses and once inside Serengeti National Park, we were greeted by Cheetahs.

Yet, upon setting up the camp, we were welcomed by another constant fellow of this expedition: heavy rains. Three days of heavy rains made driving in the Serengeti a real challenge but the entire expedition crew accepted this challenge and was reimbursed by impressive wildlife sightings: lions stalking gazelles, lions feeding on zebras, leopards with cubs climbing in trees, and many more unique wildlife observations. Three very informative lectures gave unique insights into the wild dog re-introduction program, the challenges of managing Tanzanaia’s second largest national park, and into the interplay between fire, herbivory and vegetation dynamics.

After this fulfilling expedition students and staff are now ready to start off with another exciting highlight of the SFS program: Directed Research.