June 23, 2013

Behavioral ecology of large herbivores

‘I have seen two lions” Mara reported as she struggled to catch her breath. “Where? ” Prof asked. As soon as the answer came we all ran to the direction of where she had seen them. Silently we observed, patiently waiting to see the big cats. Waterbuck ran as the baboons climbed higher on the tree…obviously something was amiss. Seconds turned to minutes with no success and we decided to go for a game drive to see whether we would find them. For the last couple of days we’ve been working hard altering the days schedule to see lions only to find we are minutes late. We are optimistic to see them before we leave.

We started our day with a morning’s reflection from Ellie and species for the day from Hannah. Behavioral ecology was the theme of the day, observing different animals behaviours and later trying to explain as to why they do the same. We were observing the bite/step rate, % vigillant,  % foraging, moving, grooming and mate interaction.   Step, step, step, bite, step, bite, bite, bite, step …was the rhythm. After lunch (Githeri stew and salad) and our usual moment of connecting with the world we discussed an article paper Hughes 2006 and Reid ‘Savannas Of Our Birth’ chapter 4&5.  - Hannah Kamau, Range Science, University of Nairobi

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