Due to Kai's limited internet access in Africa the below post was added by Monica.
With little experience having written for a blog, I will start by saying the first few days of my Kenyan experience have been absolutely mind-blowing. While it took a good 36 hours to get here (12 hour London layover plus some plane difficulties) the first view of the Nairobi Nark Park took my breath away. Within 20 minutes of leaving the airport I was in a Land Cruiser, only feet away from herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, giraffe, Impala, gazelle, and countless other animals that I cannot yet identify. Once we reached the School for Field Studies site, we were shown around what I like to call the “compound”, a five acre zone enclosed by an eight foot high electric fence that protects us from the lions commonly seen right outside, as well as other large mammals and other uninvited potential guests. The site is beautiful, with acacia trees and other shrubbery covering it, along with an open field containing a volleyball field. There are monkeys roaming the site, and if one is not too careful they will come right up and steal the food out of your hands.
We’ve already begun to see the reality of our research problem here. The Nairobi National Park sits on a large tract of land where the numerous species can roam freely without risk of intrusion by humans. The problem arises when the many large mammals need to exit the park for their migration to calve, find food, etc. The area from which they can exit the park (which is an unfenced portion of the park) is known as the “dispersal area”, and is being quickly developed, with individual families fencing in their properties. This phenomenon is reducing the ability of migrating animals to complete their migration successfully without coming into conflict with humans.
As our classes have begun, the native Kenyan professors are filling us with their knowledge, preparing us for the various expeditions into the Nairobi National Parks that we will be taking.