Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When life gives us rain...

...We look for animal tracks in the mud and make plaster casts! 
As a reference, the lion front paw is as big as a female hand with the fingers stretched out!

So Serena Camp is faring much better than Talek Camp. Our complaint of not being able to make it to 2 of 3 hyena dens seems very trivial compared to the midnight evacuations of Talek!!! Really, we can't complain, the rain has brought more carnivores to camp than usual! We have had lions come through camp during the night and early morning, including one big male whose roar literally made me fall out of bed. A hyena casually walked by the dinner table one evening and now hangs around the shower area at night. The usual herbivores still come around occasionally. We had 13 giraffes in camp one afternoon! THAT was noisy as they noticed us and ran away! I literally scared the crap out of one when I emerged from my tent brushing my teeth one morning. We have had many elephants, one of which has taken on the duty of forester/landscaper, trimming the trees along the driveway. 

I also recently discovered a new way to add a video since the original way most likely requires high-speed internet and foiled my plans. So expect many more! This one is of one of our South clan subadult females, Ranch, whooping. She received several whoops in response and shortly after, her mother, the infamous Clovis, showed up!

And this is one of North clan's cubs, Ratchet, the Master of Multitasking- scratching his/her back while grooming his/her belly!

An unexpected addition to this post: On Monday No√©mie and I performed our first necropsy on a male from Happy Zebra, Loverboy (LBOY). We suspect he was killed by lions, although I will spare you the gruesome details. He was initially discovered in a torrential downpour at night, covered in tens of thousands of carnivorous army ants, so upon returning the next morning with Doom insect killer, we learned that army ants disappear during the daylight...but maggots persist regardless. Hyenas sometimes smell like dead animals when they're alive. A dead one was much worse. That smell did not wash off easily... or at all in fact. 
As a tribute to Loverboy, we will now present his life in pictures!

....Just kidding. 

I am also incapable of leaving a cheetah photo out of a blog post. So here is a video of the female cheetah who gave birth to a new litter in the first week of April! The video was taken March 29th, just days before she gave birth!

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science