Chifuyu Arrives

ACK Mary's picture
Sat, 2010-02-13 16:53 by ACK Mary · Forum/category:
Mary and Chif - New Year great start in Samburu Chif helps pass out posters on trees at the Salama Bike Race in December

by Mary Wykstra

While I was in the US, Chifuyu Beckett was finalizing the details of her return to Kenya. During the last year, she had been fundraising for her PhD and settling her own affairs to prepare for her three year PhD work. Chifuyu arrived a week after me - in November, and since that time she has purchased a vehicle, interviewed potential assistants, completed training Ginger (poop sniffer dog extraordinaire), and finalized many of the details for initiating her work.

She is now starting her new year with most of the pieces in place.

Her research has three primary goals:

Goal 1. To determine the factors affecting cheetah livestock depredation

  1. Investigate human settlement patterns and the distribution and abundance of prey species;
  2. Monitor cheetah movement using GPS collars;
  3. Evaluate conflict incidents and the rate and seasonal variations of livestock depredation.

Goal 2. To assess prime cheetah habitat quality in order to manage/preserve cheetah habitats.

Determine habitat use of cheetahs in relation to:

  1. human settlement patterns;
  2. orientation of livestock and game species; and
  3. vegetation.

Goal 3. To evaluate cheetah stress hormone levels for survival

  1. Quantify faecal stress hormone levels of cheetahs in relation to degree of human pressure
  2. Assess the borderline stress level that allows cheetahs to sustain health.

She will be joining the Salama team, working with us in the development of cheetah monitoring in Samburu, and setting up monitoring in the Amboseli ecosystem.

She will work with us in sharing information with the communities in Salama and will initiate her work in the Mbirikani area later in the year. Information from her study will assist us and KWS in laying out the strategies and policies for cheetah conservation efforts. As a part of her project, Chif will be conducting community baraza and education programmes throughout her time with us. We will develop more posters and materials to give to communities and schools.

Look for blogs from Chif to be coming soon... as if she is not busy enough!

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