Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ISP Period


I've successfully completed 3 out of 4 credits for the semester, meaning all I have left is my Independent Research Project to complete by mid-May. On Sunday I flew back to Kasane, where I saw all of the elephants before. There are 6 of the 11 people from my program here, so we are all camping together at a great campsite. Our site in the corner of the grounds, and the fence next to us actually serves as the border between the national park and the town, which leads to us hearing elephants, hippos, and baboons all night long, and even seeing hippos and baboons in the campgrounds. It's great to be able to hear all of the animals at night and not have to worry about lions, although I do miss getting to hear them roar throughout the night.

I started my research project yesterday, and it's looking like it's going to be both interesting and a great learning experience. My day goes like this: 8am I arrive and am briefed on where the mongoose I'm studying slept overnight. I'm following three different troupes, so it is then my job to go to each troupe's den site from the previous night and collect feces for sampling. I then use a radio collar tracking device(basically a big antenna I hold up attached to a radio that I listen to) to find the troupe and make behavioral observations. The final step is to place the food plots out. I then repeat for each troupe. It take about 5 hours in total, and can get quite hot by the end, but it's really fun, especially since one of the troupes has about 15 baby mongoose.

One of the best parts though is that the NGO I'm researching with has 5 mongoose in captivity, so in the mornings I go and collect feces from them and they come right up and play with me, just like a puppy, except they're 10x cuter. They make the funniest noises too.

I'm on the home stretch, exactly 1 month from today I will be headed to Mozambique. Hope everyone is doing well! Good luck with the last month of school!

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