Recently the Spring 2017 Tanzania students had their first opportunity visit a national park in Tanzania. The students spent all day in Lake Manyara National Park and it was the highlight of the semester so far for many of the students. As the Student Affairs Manager, I love accompanying the students on this outing because it is so gratifying to be with the students when they see wild animals in Tanzania for the first time. Some students were literally brought to tears when they saw their favorite animals for the first time. For most of the students it was their first time to ever see animals such as baboons, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and gazelles in the wild. Some lucky students even got to see a lion and leopard!
All photos courtesy of Becky Gottlieb
The students spent most of the day in Lake Manyara National Park observing baboon behavior. Lake Manyara National Park is known for its large troops of olive baboons and they are an ideal species for SFS students to study. The baboons are plentiful and comfortable around vehicles so they are easy to observe – plus baboons are pretty cute and very amusing to watch! The students enjoyed the field exercise because they got to learn about baboon behavior while also getting to witness entertaining baboon antics, such as baby baboons working on their coordination skills and playing with each other.
The trip to Lake Manyara National Park was just a small introduction to the wildlife that the students will get to see this semester. In fact, we are leaving tomorrow on our first expedition of the semester! We will spend five days camping near Tarangire National Park and the students will have the opportunity to visit several types of protected areas in and compare and contrast the different methods of wildlife management in Tanzania.