Hello from Samburu! My name is Georgia and I am the newest International Intern at STE, staying for two months. I studied Zoology in Melbourne, Australia, and following my arrival three days ago I have had a sensational experience here.
Just after hopping off the plane I felt like my adventure had started – whilst travelling to camp from the airstrip I was lucky enough to encounter two lionesses walking calmly in front of our jeep! I was filled with excitement, not even in the Masai Mara was I able to get so close to a big cat. Later that afternoon the camp was visited by two mature elephants whom are regularly spotted close by. Sabina, the Kenyan Intern, and I patiently waited in our tent as they finished grazing just outside. It was a very joyous welcome for me as we watched them make themselves at home.
I am lucky enough to be working under the guidance of Shifra Goldenberg, who is currently studying the social complexity of African elephants. Due to the high level of poaching that has occurred in the past couple of years she is taking particular interest in their behaviour now that many of the older cows and matriachs have been killed and have left behind young families. A lot of field work is involved in her project, which is great for me because most days I am able to accompany her in the field! I have now been with her a couple of times whilst she has been collecting focal observations of their behaviour, which has been immensely interesting as I endeavour to gain as much experience in behavioural monitoring as I can. In addition, I have been out in the reserve to aid in a mammal census and observe how the LTM (Long-term Monitoring) work is carried out. The wildlife seems so abundant, however whenever I see an animal I feel just as excited as when I saw the last. When I do not accompany someone in the field I am busy working on digitising the ID drawings taken in the field for easier reference.
I’ve had a fantastic time so far, so if this week is anything to go by I have no doubt that the following seven weeks are going to make for a sensational experience in the wildlife conservation field!