Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Community Relations

A large part of the continuation of the Mara Hyena project is maintaining a healthy relationship with the surrounding community.  As guest in the Maasai Mara, it is important to maintain the trust and respect of the local people.  Our good standing relationship with the Maasai people allows us to continue or research uninterrupted and prevents many misunderstandings.

The project has done numerous things to maintain this relationship over the years, and we do our best to foster this relationship into the future.  One of the things we do is provide stable business to the people of Talek Town by purchasing groceries, camp supplies, and needing endless car repairs.  In addition to being loyal customers, we provide informative talks about our research to nearby lodges.  We are always sharing information about our hyena research to the Maasai and to tourist in the Mara.  We also do a variety of miscellaneous deeds to help out the locals.

A few weeks ago, Chase and I were working in the lab tent when Joseph asked for us to help with an injured Maasai woman.  Chase and I walked from the lab tent to the kitchen tent and saw that this woman had sustained a deep gash in her ankle from cutting firewood.  She had somehow missed her target and instead found her ankle.  Immediately, Chase assumed the role of Dr. Chase, and I became Nurse Matt.   After some antibacterial ointment and a few butterfly bandages, we sent the lady on her way.  We heard from Joseph later that she eventually went to Talek Town and received numerous stitches.

Dr. Chase

A week later, Ashlei and I were working in the lab tent… This time it was a Maasai man who cut a deep gash into his wrist.  After convincing Ashlei that it would be great practice for veterinary school, I handed her the rubber gloves, and she became Dr. Ashlei.  With a similar procedure and a few more butterfly bandages, we sent this man on his way.

Dr. Ashlei
Other than an impromptu medical clinic, we also rescue loose cattle from their impending doom from hungry carnivores.  Cattle often get loose, and we see them wandering in the reserve, and if possible we coral them and return them to their rightful owner.  Below is a video of Wilson chasing a loose cow and some photos of its capture.

Though we primarily focus on our research, we do what we can to continue and maintain a positive community relationship.

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