While Joyce is back in Norway preparing for her appearance in the legal case against Ringling Brothers Circus, and dealing with other pending elephant-issues, I continue my stay here in Nairobi. I am keeping busy working on our website update and our databases with IT-experts Mark and Fred, and trying to get our field vehicle in shape for the next few months of field work – a continuous job!
In the middle of next week I leave for Amboseli with Blake Murray. Over the next 10 weeks Blake is going to be assisting with ElephantVoices’ communication research by collecting acoustic recordings and video of some of the rarer calls. After a two week intro period with me he will be in the good hands of the very competent ATE research staff members, Norah Njiraini and Katito Sayialel.
Right now Blake is with Joyce in Norway being prepared for his time in Amboseli and picking up the recording equipment, datasheets and so on. Blake, who is currently a student at University of Utah, worked with us for a couple of months in 2003. You will be hearing more from us in the field.
Blake and Petter with the BBs in Amboseli in May 2003.
Based on normal rainfall patterns this time of the year usually represents a productive work period for collecting elephant vocalizations. But this year may be different. Due to the severe drought elephants are likely to be more subdued and just focused on getting enough to eat.
The short rains failed over most of Kenya, which is a troubling fact for millions of Kenyans. The political upheaval last year really had an impact on food production in the country and having the rains fail sets people even further back. Millions of Kenyans are currently faced with hunger – making human elephant conflict even more acute.
Despite the drought, I really look forward to being with the Amboseli elephants again, and we are all hoping for good rains in March and April.