My research aims to see what behavioral, physiological, and demographic cues we can use from spotted hyenas to indicate how other species in the ecosystem are faring. If these cues prove to be successful indicators of future declines of other wildlife, we may be able to use this information to combat the factors causing these declines, and to assist in conserving biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa.
While the impacts of a growing human population bordering the Masai Mari National Reserve have been documented on herbivores, it is unclear how endangered carnivores are faring. This research will help to elucidate the indirect, or non-lethal, effects of an expanding human population on large carnivores, and assist in their conservation. Additionally, wildlife tourism represents one of the leading sources of foreign exchange in east Africa, and ensuring that wildlife persist for future generations has a direct link to the livelihoods of many local people.
In order to learn from spotted hyenas about other wildlife in their shared ecosystems, I'll be analyzing hyena behavior, physiology, and demography by following three different clans of spotted hyenas in the Masai Mara National Reserve. Behavior will be assessed by tracking where hyenas go using GPS collars that have been deployed on 18 spotted hyena females, physiology will be assessed through stress hormones that hyenas excrete in their feces, and demography will be monitored by maintaining birth records that have been in place since the 1980's.
To fund a 6 month field season, I will need fuel for vehicles, supplies for glucorticoid assays, and airtime for collars.
Ruh rohs-- looks like siafu are back in camp. Hope I don't fall prey to them! vine.co/v/b1hQ6OWlLge— David Green (@dsgreen) February 1, 2013
Not sure how it's possible, but this guy just snuck up on us. Back in the Mara! vine.co/v/b1z6zzP0HDe— David Green (@dsgreen) January 31, 2013