The fall semester in Tanzania is running at a fast pace. Students have explored and experienced many facets of Northern Tanzania: the daily livelihoods of different rural communities, wildlife-packed Ngorongoro Crater, and different protected areas in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem. During a 5 day expedition, we explored Tarangire National Park and its surrounding buffer zones that are so vital for sustaining the migratory wildlife species (mainly wildebeest and zebra) in the ecosystem and at the same time provide opportunities for rural communities to benefit directly from wildlife conservation.
During the expedition, we completed the seasonal animal survey of the entire ecosystem. For four years, SFS students have been involved in the regular wildlife monitoring of four different protected areas (Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, Manyara Ranch and Mto wa Mbu game controlled areas) – a truly unique monitoring scheme in terms of temporal and spatial scale. And all largely run by SFS students!
Students used data from this exercise to accomplish a small quantitative research project and are already preparing research proposals for the upcoming Directed Research (DR). This semester, DR will span from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area all the way to Burunge Wildlife Management Area and students will work on topics as diverse as range assessment, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife population dynamics, connectivity of protected areas, and ethnozoology.
Before this exciting research phase starts, we will explore the Serengeti during our second expedition and hopefully come back to our Center with great memories and pictures of exciting wildlife encounters.