Africa Talk at Black Earth Library

Just a quick post to let locals know that I'll be giving a talk on December 1st at the Black Earth Library on my animal-behavior focused trips to Africa. I'll combine the best of my and Jim's photographs and talk about the adventures of safaris in Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and Rwanda. We'll talk about radio-collaring "Jones," the breeding male of an African Wild Dog pack, sitting with gorillas in Rwanda and the impact of the current drought on the people and animals of East Africa. If you're in the area, I hope you can come! 7 pm, December 1st, 2009 Black Earth Library, 1210 Mills Street, Black Earth, WI 608 767-2563, Ext. 3 If you can make it, come up and say hi. Here's my favorite photograph from the trip we took in August, on the Masai Mara. Read More

Be Glad Our Cats are Small

I'm working on a post about the comparative behavior of wolves, coyotes, African Wild dogs and domestic dogs, but here's a short digression for the cat lovers. An adult lioness in the Maasai Mara marks a bush after rising from a nap. You can clearly see the stream of urine in the photo. Aren't you glad our house cats don't weigh 260-450 pounds? A female cheetah marks a tree. We found this cheetah right after landing in the "Kenyan Serengeti," the Maasai Mara. After we landed at a tiny airstrip and loaded up in safari vans on our way to our lodging, we ran into a hunting cheetah who was stalking Impala. After a few minutes she made her move, and dashed at the herd. She was too far away for us to take any photographs, but none of us will ever forget watching one Impala leap over five Read More

The Illustrated African Wild Dog Story

As you know if you've been following the blog, 1/2 the folks who went to Kenya continued on to Botswana. We all knew that seeing Wild Dogs wasn't a guarantee, but we had high hopes because we were going where and when our chances were highest. (And no, in response to one comment, there are no [African] Wild Dogs in the states, we're talking another species here, see photos below.) We stayed at Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta, owned and run by Helene Heldring and David Hamman, and very close to the research station of Tico McNutt, who has been studied AWDs for over twenty years. We knew that he had radio collars on most of the packs in the area, and we knew that it was still denning season, meaning that the adults tended to stay put more than usual. Still, as an experienced naturalist Read More

Come to Africa with Me

I'm leading another safari in Kenya and Botswana this August. Wanna come? It probably will be my last. The first time I went to Africa to lead an animal-behavior-focused safari, I cautioned the participants the day we arrived that we weren't going to see what we usually see on a nature special on television. "What you see on a nature special is the result of hours and hours and hours of long, boring observations, while waiting to capture the excitement and beauty and drama that eventually will be edited down to a series of amazing sequences. We'd be wise to have our expectations be realistic: we'll see some wonderful animals and some interesting behavior, but it will be far cry from what you see on TV." Boy was I wrong. I mean, totally wrong. I mean, totally, completely and utterly Read More