|You would not believe the number of things we need to run this research camp on a daily basis!|
And many of these things reside in the storage tent.
|Wilson stands proud and tall among our research material.|
After emptying the entire tent and cataloging all the various items, we discovered an additional problem. Ant infestation. So, armed with cans of red (danger-color) DOOM (probably the equivalent to: “Spray that kills bugs and gives me cancer in 10 years”), we committed ant genocide.
|Ashlei begins the killing process.|
What have I done with these hands....
But at least, the terrible parts of this job (the storage tent) are coupled with the amazing parts of this job (hyenas.)
The other day on obs, Ashlei and I were driving along Horseshoe Lugga when we happened upon a group of excited hyenas. Tails bristling, noses thrust against grass stalks, and the smell of paste in the air were all signs that indicated a border patrol was about to take place. I leaned forward in the driver’s seat, binoculars glued to my eyes as Ashlei took a deep swig of air before the tirade of observation notes began to flow from her mouth.
|The beginning of a border patrol|
|Smell something good?|
So the sniffing and pasting began.
|Everyone else follows Ted and Parcheesi's lead|
However, interestingly enough, female participation in border patrols seems to actually correspond more with protecting their potential food sources rather than direct offspring protection from infanticide by other clans or alien hyenas (Boydston et al 2001).
|Parcheesi takes a short breather from her territory marking|
Boydston, E. E., Morelli, T. L. & Holekamp, K. E. (2001) Sex differences in territorial behavior exhibited by the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). Ethology. 107:369-385.
Smith, J.E., Van Horn, R.C., Powning, K.S., Cole, A.R., Graham, K.E., Memenis, S.K., & Holekamp, K.E. (2010) Evolutionary forces favoring intragroup coalitions among spotted hyenas and other animals. Behavioral Ecology. 21: 284-303.
Theis, K. R., Heckla, A. L., Verge, J. R. & Holekamp, K. E. (2008) The ontogeny of pasting behavior in free-living spotted hyenas, Crocuta crocuta. In: J. L. Hurst, R.J. Beynon, S.C. Roberts & T. D. Wyatt (Eds.), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 11. Springer, New York. 179-188.