I was very fortunate to take the first field trip of the project to South Africa this October and November. I had the chance to track collared elephants, begin determining a faecal sample collection protocol, hire a Field Assistant and find out how challenging monitoring elephants and collecting samples will be. The good news is that it was an amazing experience and I think it will make an excellent study site!
The camp has everything I need in terms of local knowledge, capacity, space and access to resources, Although the landcover in the area is more bushy than I'm used to, seasoned elephant trackers don't have a problem in the terrain and there's peltny of opportunity for my students, staff and I to learn.
I am travelling back to South Africa in March for the Savannah Network Meeting and I'll do a long field season through the southern African winter, with expeditions to Botswana and South Africa. I hope the new Field Assistant, the Research Assistant I'm going to hire, the Master's students I am co-supervising and my volunteers will make next year very fruitful in terms of field research!
We already took some fantastic pictures, and we very much look forward to taking many more to illustrate the research we're doing.