The female lion walks through the tall grass past the SFS car, her eyes focus solely on few hartebeests (a medium sized species of antelope) who graze nearby in a recently burned grassland. I only hear the rapid clicks of the students’ cameras. The lioness stalks along the road and uses the tall grass as cover. Some of the hartebeest are now very vigilant, they look up and walk towards the lioness, and eventually run away and disappear in the vast plains of the Serengeti before the lioness even made an attempt to attack. It is these fascinating moments in the field that make field work so rewarding and that nourish most of the enthusiasm among students and staff alike.
After our exciting expedition to Serengeti, few days of hard work and three exams, and some relaxing days in Arusha later, we are now approaching directed research. Directed research is an intensive time, with long working hours, many challenges to be encountered in the field an during data analysis. But foremost, it is a highly rewarding time. As students and staff of SFS, we are priviliged to work in some of the most fascinating landscapes and environments and we work on projects which – in one way or another – contribute to the conservation of our environment and sustainability of this planet.
With this in mind, I wish all SFS students and staff lots of courage, patience, and energy for the directed research period.