The variability of savanna ecosystems was in full effect today. In the early morning, we said goodbye to the River Camp and moved our belongings to the Mpala Research Center. We would later be divided up and moved into our various sleeping quarters. Originally, the plan for our class was to take a day trip to Segera Ranch. The purpose of this visit was to talk with the ranch manager, as we have begun to look at the sociological implications of people and cattle living in close proximity to wildlife, and the various ways that this relationship can be handled.
However, Mother Nature had other plans for us, as rain caused the roads to be too wet to travel, so we will be heading to Segera later this week. Instead of traveling to Segera, we split into two groups from the Research Center to gather more data for our research projects. The group that I was a part of counted more dung in a new glade for the foraging preference project that Jacob discussed in the blog on May 8th. After finishing this, we set several camera traps both inside and outside the glade with Professor Duncan Kumuyu.
Right before lunch, while walking back to our vehicles, a small unidentified creature was seen by Kennedy, perhaps a mouse or a lizard. I saw it go into a clump of grass, so I took a step closer. Just as I did this, a serval jumped from the clump of grass right in front of me. It took off with long bounding strides and was soon out of sight. It’s safe to say it gave us all quite a scare, but was a pleasant surprise. The rest of the day was spent getting accustomed to life at the Research Center. It will be a bit of an adjustment, as we are no longer the only group around. A busy week of study and adventure lies ahead, and if the past two weeks are any indication, the time will fly by.
– David Bontrager – Environmental Science 2017 – GC