First Impressions


Rebecca Sargent, International Intern

Date Published

So this is my first blog as a new intern at Save the Elephants research camp in Samburu! My name’s Rebecca and last year I graduated with a degree in Zoology from the University of Sheffield. During my studies I had a keen interest in animal behaviour, however a lot of my work was conducted in a lab. I’m therefore very excited to be here on my first ever trip to Kenya and to get out into the bush to experience research in the field!

My first two days in camp have already allowed me some incredible sights. What I have been blown away by is the sheer number of elephants in the area. On my two drives so far I have met 12 of the resident families and have been amazed by how calm and relaxed they are around our vehicle, allowing us to sit right in amongst them while they go about their business. We spent an enjoyable half hour watching a group in the shade with a very small calf who was attempting to copy his mum in stripping bark from a tree branch. The poor thing did not have much luck and soon reverted to the easier option of suckling.

I have also been surprised by what life is like on camp. Many people warned me before arriving that it was going to be very basic living! But in fact our tent is very spacious and comfortable, our food is great, and I’m sure I’ll soon get the hang of the bucket shower! What’s more is that the surroundings are beautiful, situated right on the river it’s peaceful and relaxed and there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting. On my first night we had an elephant visitor make his way through camp and the following morning were able to watch a troop of baboons at the river whilst eating our breakfast.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of updates over the next few weeks. For now I am going to get started trying to learn some of the elephant ID. It seems impossible as there are so many, yet incredibly the staff know all of them almost instantly, including the young calves. So I’d better get to work!

Meeting some of the Hardwood family on my first research drive