Sampling throughout Amboseli National Park

26 03 2013
A chameleon "Clyde" crossing the road.

The chameleon “Clyde” crossing the road.

After a tough few weeks of field sampling, we have returned from Amboseli.  No rains to speak of yet, so conditions are very dry and hot.  The picture here is of a chameleon crossing the road that we took along the drive from Nairobi to Mashuru, a town north of the Park.  You’ll notice that his eye is fixed on me, even though he is continuing to cautiously move forward.

We stayed in Amboseli for a few weeks due also to the presidential election that has been going on here.  After nearly a month, however, there still is no president in office.   Fortunately, there has been been little violence.  The Supreme Court in Kenya is currently hearing the case to determine if the election was conducted fairly before confirming the president elect (Uhuru Kenyatta).  Of note and unfortunately the case, President-elect Kenyatta is also being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.  Only in Kenya!

There are very few wildebeest outside the park right now due to the dry conditions, making collecting samples very difficult.  One day we were on the road for 9 hours before  locating a lone wildebeest and collecting a sample.  Wildebeest can survive only about 4-5 days (maximum) without water.  During dry periods, wildebeest are therefore concentrated around the swamps in the interior of the park.  I, unfortunately, do not have permission from the Kenya Wildlife Service to collect samples without Park boundary.

Wildebeest grazing with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background

Wildebeest grazing with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background

In the end, we were able to collect 26 samples throughout the community areas surrounding the park.  We had one flat tire that we changed in record time and have now resolved a problem we were having with the vehicle battery.  Now on to the Maasai Mara to finish up sampling there, which should be a bit easier due to much wetter conditions.



One response

10 04 2013

Wow!!! You can actually see Mt. Kilimanjaro. Must no be much dust in the air.

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