My last Blog


by Kathleen Hopkins, International Intern

Date Published

This blog will be more of a legitimate wrap up of the past month, just to let everyone know what we at the STE camp were up to.

My job at camp was to wade through the immobilization records for the past 10 years. I matched every paper copy with the database, and then cleaned up all typos. That took about the first week. Then I analyzed the data and wrote a (in my opinion) a pretty good report about my findings. Some of the stuff was really interesting to find. Someone really needs to do a real study on the exact dosage needed to down a bull, as their data was all over the place. It was really interesting to see.

When I wasn’t in the office, I went out with the long term monitoring team (LTM) and helped them observe the elephants. It really is amazing how unafraid the elephant families of Samburu are of cars. We spent the first two weeks really focusing on the northern side of the river, as the bridge a kilometer from camp was completely devastated by the flood. Around the third week of my stay, David decided that we really shouldn’t keep neglecting Buffalo Springs. So we drove a car around, which takes about an hour and a half, and spent a whole day over there. We conducted a mammal census, which is where we count every mammal we see. It is a looooong process.

Since we didn’t want to waste petrol driving back and forth all the time, we left the car in the lodge directly across the river from camp. And then we waded. Yes, we waded through a river that I have personally seen Nile Crocodiles swimming in. It was both the stupidest and bravest thing I think I’ve ever done. Luckily, no one got chomped.

Unfortunately, too, the batteries started dying in camp around the second and third week. We’d have power throughout the day, when the sun was out, but as soon as it started to get dark (or it was super cloudy) the power would shut off.

Everyone in camp found that life without power can get pretty boring. We hunted scorpions in the dark, and lit them up using a black light (they light up so much under UV light! It’s the coolest thing ever). We had a few snake scares (two 6 ft spitting cobras, and one puff adder), and luckily a full moon.

My time at camp was really an amazing experience, and I can’t believe that I’m sitting in Nairobi, about to leave. I am so thankful to everyone at STE for letting me have such an amazing time, and I hope I’ll have the chance to see them all again soon.