We left for Serengeti National Park (SNP) after finals and everyone was excited for a well deserved break. While we spent a lot of time relaxing and having fun, we also did a lot of work. Every morning we woke up early to do some data collection. We recorded the behavior budgets of zebra, impala and wildebeest, recorded every species of bird we could identify, and watched how long tourists spent watching each species of animal.

And we also got to see some amazing animals. My personal favorite was a leopard we found taking a nap on a picnic table. It looked so cute and peaceful napping there on the table. But once in a while, it would really wake up and turn extremely intense. It no longer looked like a cuddly kitten, but a fierce predator. I have a lot of respect for these beautiful animals.

On our last day in SNP, we finally got to see what we had been hoping for all week… a lion hunt. There were 11 lions and one Cape buffalo. However, there were only one or two lionesses that were actually brave enough to attack the buffalo. The others were just keeping it cornered so it couldn’t run away. Eventually, the two lionesses that were doing everything got worn out and gave up. Against all odds, the buffalo was able to make an escape. It got away with no fatal wounds…. just a bloody back end and tail. It was really inspiring that the buffalo did not give up even though its chances were so slim.

It was sad leaving the park after our week was through, but I think everyone was excited to get to sleep in our own beds and take a warm shower. We got our Directed Research topics and are already into the full swing of research. I am very excited about this next step of the program.