May 10, 2010
Edwin Pos & Jos Sleegers
Students from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands
It is finally over now, after two months of working, living and laughing in the bush we have arrived back in Nairobi at the STE Head-office. We can’t help but feeling that we have left a place which we were fortunate enough to call our home, with our own tent, our own routines and a lot of new friends. Driving through the reserve for the last time and passing the gate knowing that we won’t return the same day gives us a sense of loss. But we shouldn’t dwell on these thoughts as it was a great experience and one that will remain with us for a long time.
As for the research, we have been able to do what we came to do, even though there was a minor setback as a result of the flood. To give a short summary, the first part was making a transect across the East-West gradient of the Samburu National Reserve, resulting in a total of 19 plots along the Ewaso Ng’iro river (which is the lower boundary of the reserve) and yielding some very interesting results. The second part concerned an Elephant Focal study on the foraging behaviour of elephants, for this we have spend a lot of time close to the elephants, looking and observing what they are eating. It is an amazing feeling seeing these magnificent creatures walking past you only one meter distance away, fully aware of you, yet undisturbed. Spending so much time in the bush has also given us the oppertunity to see a lot of different animals, from zebra’s, kudu’s, cheeta’s and hyena’s to wild dogs right at the research camp.
In addition, we have made some great new friends here in Kenya and it was great spending time with them. They have helped us so much with the research and showed us so much about living here. They really made us feel right at home and being a part of it all, as a thank you we gave a fare-well party on our last evening with beers, soda’s and naturally a goat, because here in Kenya you can’t have a party without a goat! To keep it short, it has been a great experience and we want to thank everybody who has made this possible, hopefully we can come back some time!
***Edwin & Pos have since left but we thought you would be interested in reading the last of their blogs…