natsci4u Profile

Join Date:
2009-01-14

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College students share stories of their daily life while in Kanya's Masai Mara conducting field.. research on hyenas for the Holekamp Lab at Michigan State University.

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Other Tags: animals, travel, research, students, hyenas

Latest Blog Posts

  • Difficulty and humor when testing hyena cognition...
    on Dec 6, 2016 in cognition
    Update: Hall of Shame is still coming up soon.. but first... some goofy hyena videos.Testing the cognition of hyenas in the wild can be really difficult, but it's also really fun. MVUA, a young subadult hyena in Talek West, just opened the multi-acce...
  • Rate the Mara: Common Eland (Taurotraigus oryx)
    on Dec 2, 2016
    Hello all! Rate The Mara is a possible series I may post every now and then, when the blog is need of an infusion of subpar humor.  It's intended to be a gleeful series presenting some facts about the animal, having some fun, and giving a comple...
  • 5 Months, 5 Moments
    on Aug 29, 2016
    Time goes by so fast!  As of today, I have been in Kenya for five months, working as a Research Assistant for the Mara Hyena Project.  In these five months, I have learned, seen, and done so much.  This whole experience is too incredib...
  • A mating like no other and why it matters
    on Aug 26, 2016
    Note: This blog contains footage of a mating which recently occurred within Talek West. It is used with the permission of the Mara Hyena Project and for scientific purposes only.If there is one quality about the Mara ecosystem which can be assur...
  • Goin' Courtin'
    on Aug 22, 2016
    Just a few days ago, I had the good luck to see one of our North clan males, Leprechaun, engaged in courting behavior with the matriarch of North clan, Waffles.A flattering photo of Leprechaun, immigrant male.An even more flattering photo of Waffles,...
  • Self-control matters in spotted hyenas
    on Aug 15, 2016
    Hey, it's Lily again. I'm a graduate student out in the field right now collecting cognitive data with the hyenas. One of the cognitive tasks I’m giving hyenas tests self-control, which is also known as “inhibitory control” in many scientific s...
  • Living double lives
    on Aug 15, 2016
    While it is often joked that getting a PhD can be stressful and quite time consuming, for those who choose to utilize field data, it can be doubly so. Graduate students rarely have the time to do much data analysis, or writing, while they collect the...
  • Mail from a male
    on Aug 8, 2016
    Dear humans,My name is Juba, and I am an immigrant male spotted hyena in Talek West clan.  Like all immigrant males in the Mara, I was named after a city: in my case, the capital of South Sudan.  I'm also currently the only Talek West hyena...
  • A Bipedal Mother and a Pirate Queen - Hyenas with Stories
    on Aug 2, 2016
    Hello, everyone! Today I want to introduce you to two of my absolute favorite hyenas. They have both been through ordeals that would have killed lesser beasts, but they are surviving and thriving in the face of adversity.Meet Komo, oldest daughter of...
  • Then and Now
    on Jul 26, 2016
    After two years, I am finally back in Serena camp. I was out here from May 2013 – May 2014 as a research assistant in Serena. I’m now here as a graduate student. I arrived in Kenya almost two months ago, but I spent my first two months in Talek a...
  • The next step
    on Jul 25, 2016
    The last days in Kenya are a whirl of emotions for any RA, and I was no exception. On July 18th, I had to say goodbye to my hyenas, my coworkers, and my newfound home to fly back to the US. I kept myself busy with sundowners, horseback riding in Nair...
  • It's an Alien Invasion!
    on Jul 22, 2016
    Many here in the Mara come to associate the months of June, July, and August with the influx of seas of wildebeest, Thomson's gazelle, zebra, more wildebeest, elands, topi, and yet MORE wildebeest, among others.Have I mentioned there's lots of wildeb...
  • My last adventures in Kenya
    on Jul 21, 2016
    I am sad to say my time in the Mara has come to an end. I have learned so much and have created a big family here. I wish I could stay here forever with my hyena friends, but it is time to continue my journey and to explore this country in its fulles...
  • Hello, Goodbye: Fission-fusion Dynamics at work
    on Jul 19, 2016
    Like many human beings in our modern, interconnected world, I am a wanderer.  I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A., where much of my family still lives.  I have lived and worked in California (north and south!), Michigan, Idaho, and M...
  • Sending samples home, and taking "Papa" Joseph to Nairobi
    on Jul 15, 2016
    Every year Dr. Kay E. Holekamp comes out to the Mara Hyena Project to check on how research is going, work some field magic with Benson, update manuals, obtain new research permits from the Kenyan government, and generally clean up camp. It is great...
  • Behold, the Mongoose!
    on Jul 12, 2016
    Every morning in Serena camp, a little parade of mongooses comes down the hill to forage for insects (or table scraps) by our lab table. We have become enamored with their pointy noses and tiny paws, their fierce natures and insatiable lust for food,...
  • Looking for leopards
    on Jul 7, 2016
    Leopards are about the rarest of the cat species we see out here and for me at least, they’re the most exciting to spot. Highly elusive, a leopard can disappear into a tiny thicket without a trace. If you see a leopard, it’s because the leopard h...
  • Connect the Dots
    on Jul 5, 2016
    Hello from Fisi Camp!My name is Rebecca LaFleur, and I’ll be your new RA joining our dear Talek West hyenas for the next year. A little about me to start off… I grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, and I just recently graduated with a degree in zo...
  • For victory and for the Mara!
    on Jun 30, 2016
    If it wasn’t already apparent, we RAs spend an awful lot of time together in the car (and everywhere else). That means we exhaust all your typical conversation topics pretty quickly, and move right along into the truly bizarre. One of my favorites...
  • EMR, signing off
    on Jun 28, 2016
    I’ve been back in the States for a week now. Rediscovering what feels like my previous life has been an explosion of nostalgia and happiness. The last week has been full of reunions with friends, family, pets, old stomping grounds, unlimited intern...
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