Serengeti Lion Project – Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!!
This Big Cat news just in! The dedicated researchers at one of our very favorite wildlife conservation groups, the Serengeti Lion Project, has been cooking up some special new projects including this fascinating new study using HIDDEN CAMERAS to study the Serengeti wildlife! Check out these images to see what the Serengeti wildlife is up to when no one else is around! This report and accompanying photos come to us courtesy of Serengeti Lion researcher Ali Swanson – thanks Ali! Read on to learn more about this exciting new camera project, why it’s important and how YOU can help!
Over the 30 years, Dr. Craig Packer and the Serengeti Lion Project have discovered a lot about lions – everything from why they have manes to why they live in groups. Now we’re turning our sights to understanding how the “king of beasts” coexists with his competitors. Whereas lions completely overwhelm leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs, hyenas often thrive amongst lions – even though lions steal more food from hyenas than the other way around! So how do lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs manage to co-exist in so many parts of Africa – even though they will kill each other if they get the chance?
To answer this question, Ph.D. candidate Ali Swanson has set out 200 camera traps on a 1,000km2 grid – covering the same area so our 23 radio-collared lion prides. We use these photographs to measure how competing carnivores use their habitat in space and time, trying to understand what behavioral and environmental characteristics promote (or inhibit) carnivore coexistence. It hasn’t always been easy – in our first year we lost over 50 cameras to hungry hyenas and angry elephants! But we’ve gotten creative in learning how to protect our cameras (think power tools) – and we’ve captured some breathtaking secret snapshots of the Serengeti’s most elusive animals.
Our “problem” right now is that we’re drowning in an ocean of data. The cameras capture >1,000,000 images each year, but without any internet access at the field station, our discoveries get stranded in the Serengeti for months on end, waiting to be hand-carried home. If you’d like to help us get the Serengeti online, please visit http://www.rockethub.com/projects/3725-serengeti-live to learn more about the project and how you can contribute. We also invite you to follow along with us on our scientific journey through our Facebook Page and LionResearch.org website.