In October 2008, Ben Kasaine Sankan joined the Hyena Research Project as a research assistant. I have made several references to Ben on the hyena blog, but I don't think there have been any pictures of Ben on the blog yet. I am sure there are many that have been anxiously awaiting a first glimpse.
Ben had previously worked with National Museums of Kenya under ornithology, mammalogy and herpetology sections. He is also a certified Bronze level safari guide and worked with camping safaris both in Kenya and in Southern Sudan. He has completed degrees in Wildlife Management and Wildlife Sanctuary Management at the Kenya Wildlife (KWS) Service Training Institute. Ben immediately showed a knack for identifying hyenas and was a welcome addition to the project.
I will be returning the states in March and Ben will be conducting the day-to-day research by himself. This is no small task, especially for someone that has only been working on the project for 3 months! For most of the past month I have been working 10-15 hours a day. In addition to the work he is already doing, Ben will be taking over most of my current responsibilities.
Ben is quickly moving up the hierarchy, since Sean Dryer is the newest member of the Hyena Research Project, and thus occupies the lowest position. This is not a formal title in any way, it is just how it works in hyena clans, so it is easy for us to think of ourselves as hyenas.
My only complaint about Ben is that his excellent research attire makes me look like a bum, since my clothes are often torn and rarely washed. This is apparent in the pictures the self-titled second lowest ranking hyena researcher.
"The best dressed hyena researcher I have ever seen." - Andy
Ben hard at work processing samples