Friday, September 17, 2010

Jambo from Serena!

Hello, fellow hyena research blog readers!  This feels slightly odd; I've been a reader of this blog for quite some time, but now I get to be on the other side posting my own experiences in fisi camp!  My name is Meg and I'm relatively new here - almost 2 months in.  I graduated in May from the University of Michigan and now I've crossed over to the dark side working for the Spartans.  I know, I know.  How could I stoop so low?  Don't you worry, my Wolverine comrades - I haven't started wearing those horrendous green and white colors.  At least not yet, anyways :)

While I've been reading this blog for almost a year now, the introduction posts haven't stuck out as much as the exciting hyena posts have so I'm not exactly sure how this goes.  You probably want to hear cool stuff about hyenas rather than boring stuff about me.  Well too bad - this is the one post in which I'm allowed to talk only about myself so I'm going to milk it for all its worth.

I'm sitting here in my tent in Serena camp listening to the North clan hyenas whooping not-so-far in the distance, and it makes me realize how far I've come in the short time I've been here.  When I first arrived, I was in complete awe at how tough everyone seemed out here.  Nobody seemed to be concerned that elephants were logging the forest 50m from my tent (I, on the other hand, had brainstormed a list of escape routes if the elephant decided that my tent looked like a nice stepping ground) or that crocodiles have been known to frequent the Talek river - which I had been crossing daily to go running on the other side.  But now I realize that it only takes a little time to adjust the level of risk I feel comfortable with.  As Andy Booms told me in my first few days here, you just have to get used to a new "normal."

Back to the whooping - I still remember how I felt when Kenna pointed out hyena whoops to me on my first night in the Mara.  It sounded eerie, like something that belonged in a Halloween haunted house.  But after weeks of learning and observing the hyenas, the sound has a completely new meaning to me.  My first thought (much to my disgust) is usually "Aww, how cuteeeee!"  But once I get over this weird, giggly, maternal feeling, I find myself wondering who it was, and what's going on.

By now I feel fairly well assimilated in to this new type of "normal" that is living in the Mara.  Serena camp felt like home within hours of arriving and I am SO glad to be here.  I have to thank everyone - Kenna, Steph, Andy B, Camille, Tracy, and all the guys - for making the transition so transparent.  I was not too worried about how I would fare out here in the bush, but it feels so much better starting a new chapter of my life with such great and welcoming people.

Now that I've got the boring me stuff out of the way, I can move on to the reason why I'm here - hyenas!  I've been very lucky so far - I've seen a hyena kill AND a hyena mating already.  It's been amazing to say the least.  These events and more will be featured in future posts, but now it's time to sleep before the alarm goes off and it's back to work!

No comments:

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science