The internet here at the center has been out for the past three so I appologize for the late entry. We began working on our first paper for Wildlife Ecology and the server was inundated with us searching for scientific articles so we basically used up all the bandwidth. Thus no internet at all for the past few days, but we finally got it back this morning. We all banded together though and shared with each other the articles we did find before it crashed. Hopefully this will help mitigate any future problems we face with it.
On to the cool stuff!! Since my last post, we visited Lake Manyara National Park and conducted field observations, dung collections, and vegetative sampling over the course of four days. It was a lot of fun finally getting to pop the tops on our Toyota Land Cruisers and actually look around at the amazing animals endemic to Tanzania. Among the species we saw were elephants ("tembo" in swahili), giraffes ("twiga"), zebras, wildebeests, warthogs, Thompson's gazelle, impalas, baboons, vervet monkies, and blue monkies. It was really cool finally getting to see these animals in person rather than from a television screen or behind a chain link fence.
During our non-program day last week, we were able to go into Karatu and look around at the shops and interact with the locals. Tanzanians are very friendly but you still have to keep your guard up when they are trying to sell you something. Often times they automatically double the actual price when selling to "mzungus" or white people. I still have a lot more swahili to learn but living around the native staff should help some. Looking around at the conditions the locals in town live in on a daily basis is definetly eye opening. It makes me even more thankful that I am so blessed to live in America.
It has also been interesting learning about how Tanzania manages thier wildlife as compared to the US. I believe that this additional perspective on wildlife management will be one of the primary things I take away from my experience here.
Sorry about not having pictures yet. I will try again later on to upload some when the internet has not had as much traffic on it.
Until next time!