Hey all! I am super excited to be one of your windows into the world of the spotted hyena for the next 10 months, but before I do that, I guess I’d better tell you a little about myself.
My name is Tracy Montgomery, and while I hail from the sunny lands of Northern California, I have passed the last four years attending Amherst College in Massachusetts. I graduated in May, and spent my last year there researching the effects of estrogens on male fish reproduction (birth control pills, while a breakthrough for us girls, get into our waterways and have much less exciting effects on fish sperm). At Amherst, I worked at our Museum of Natural History, telling people all the cool things we learn from prehistoric bones and tracks while simultaneously being educated on dinosaur species by 6-year-old boys. I also played ultimate frisbee, learned how to deal with winter and to cross-country ski (skills that will obviously come in handy out here), and explored the stunning beauty of the northeast by foot, bike, and car.
I arrived in Nairobi two months ago on the same flight as the magnificent Meg, and a few days later drove to Talek camp, my home for the next year. And are we spoiled out here - fresh homemade food, a hot shower, and solar electricity are only a few of our camp amenities. I went out on obs that first night, promptly fell in love with the hyenas (and Chicopee, my hyena 'boyfriend'), and have been going back twice a day for obs ever since. There is nothing more amusing than observing a terrified male hyena courting and bowing to a female, and little more awesome (or disgusting) than watching hyenas make a kill. I’ve seen so many amazing things out here in just two months – the said hyena kill, a Masai Ceremony of the Women, and an extremely rare black rhino, just to name a few – that I can’t even imagine what the next 10 months hold in store for me.
Or for you, as I plan to share all these amazing experiences with all of you, starting with my next blog. Tutaonana, later!