I recently gave a talk at the Arusha-based Interpretive Guide Society – a really cool group of people interested in learning more about the natural history of Tanzania’s places and animals. I’ve taken a few clips from the presentation that describe in a bit more detail how lions bully their competitors.
Looking at the photos above (all nabbed from the internet), how many of you would like to be a wild dog? A leopard? A cheetah? There’s no doubt about it – lions are big, and mean and nasty. If you are any other carnivore species in the Serengeti – or across Africa, lions chase you, steal your food, even kill you. So what do you do? How do you survive? That’s essentially what my dissertation seeks to answer. How smaller “large carnivores” – hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs — live with lions. Under what circumstances do they persist? Under what circumstances do they decline or even disappear?
There are a handful of ways in which these species interact, but what I’m most interested in is aggression and it’s repercussions. As the above pictures suggest, lions tend to dominate aggressive interactions.
The relationship between lions and hyenas is one that has wormed its way into the public psyche through nature documentaries such as “Eternal Enemies.” While such movies play up the frequency of such interactions, they certainly do happen. Lions not only kill a number of hyenas, but steal their hard-won kills. Dispel any notion of lions as some noble hunter — they in fact steal a lot of their food from other carnivores. In fact, research from Kay Holekamp’s group in Masaai Mara indicates that lions can suppress hyena populations just because they steal food from them! It’s actually a similar story for wild dogs – lions kill wild dogs too, but since wild dogs expend so much energy hunting, that if lions steal just a small fraction of the food that wild dogs catch, wild dogs simply cannot recover. They would have to hunt for more hours than there are in a day to make up for this caloric loss.
It doesn’t stop there. We don’t know how much food lions steal from cheetahs or leopards. We also don’t know how often lions kill leopards, but lions kill cheetah cubs left and right. Studies from Serengeti indicate that lions may be responsible for up to 57% of cheetah cub mortality!
So how do hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, and cheetahs survive? Well, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. But what I can tell you is that not all of these smaller carnivores sit back and take their beating quietly. Take hyenas. They’re about 1/3 the size of a lion, but they live in groups. Big groups. Much bigger groups than lions. And if there are no male lions around, if hyenas have strength in numbers, they can steal food from female lions, and even kill their cubs. While leopards don’t live in groups, they can easily kill (and eat!) a lion cub that has been hidden while mom is away hunting.
Unfortunately, what we don’t know is whether this reciprocal aggression by leopards and hyenas has any measurable affect on lion populations, and whether it’s this aggression that allows hyenas and leopards to coexist with lions. The cameras behind Snapshot Serengeti will provide the first-ever map of leopard and hyena distributions within the long-term lion study area – by comparing lion reproductive success (which we know from >45 years of watching individually identified animals) to leopard and hyena distributions, we can see if lions do better or worse in areas with lots of hyenas or leopards – and whether this is due to getting less food or producing fewer cubs.
What about cheetahs and wild dogs? Even though wild dogs, like hyenas, live in groups, there’s no evidence that this helps them defend themselves or their kills against lions. And cheetahs, well, there’s no record of them killing lion cubs, but who knows?
So how do these guys live with lions? To be honest, wild dogs don’t tend to do very well in places with lots of lions. In fact, it’s generally believed that wild dogs have failed to recolonize Serengeti, despite living *just* a few km from the border, because lion populations are so high. For a long time, researchers and conservationists believed that cheetahs also couldn’t survive in places with lots of lions – but that perception is beginning to change, due, in part, to data coming in from Snapshot Serengeti! It seems that cheetahs not only do just fine in reserves with lots of lions, but use the same areas within the park as lions do. I have a sneaking suspicion that how cheetahs use the habitat with respect to lions, how they avoid encountering lions even though they’re in the same places, holds the key to their success. Avoidance, combined with habitat that makes avoidance possible (read: not the short grass Serengeti plains you see below).
I’ll write more about avoidance and habitat another day. In fact, I’m currently revising a paper for a peer-reviewed journal that addresses how cheetahs and wild dogs differ in the ways they avoid lions – if accepted, it will be the first appearance of Snapshot Serengeti data in the scientific literature! I’ll keep you posted…
### Craig, his wife Susan, and lion researcher Daniel and I went camping at Barafu the other night. These are Craig’s thoughts as we all sat on top of Barafu kopjes, watching the wildebeest out on the plains. ###
The rains have been especially good this year. We are camping at Barafu Kopjes, at the eastern edge of the lion study area. The wildebeest have moved very far east, as I type this, I can hear them grunting loudly. The noise will only reach greater volume in the coming weeks as the rut approaches. The grass is green, the sky is full of rain clouds, and this is really the most glorious time to be in the Serengeti.
Back within the camera trap grid, the grass is getting tall, and Ali has to mow it every time she checks the cameras. There is almost nothing for the lions to eat inside the grid; most of the lions have moved very far to the south and east. This is the happiest time of year for the wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle – they are out on the open plains where they can see any danger approaching. They can easily move off away from a hyena, a lion, and still be in the lush green grass –so short it’s like the fairway of a golf course. For the lions, though, having to shift so far outside of their usual territories, this is a time of uncertainty. They may encounter rivals, unwelcoming territory holders, and so they move quietly across the land, always on edge. Further to the east, across the park boundary, into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, there is also the danger that our study lions may encounter the Masaai warriors. Several years ago we lost three of our study lions in a wet April like this one.
All the grazers are drawn eastwards by the extraordinary richness of the volcanic soils immediately downwind from the Ngorongoro highlands. Without the wildebeest, the grass would be nearly as tall here as anywhere else, but it is so sweet, that it is mowed right down to the ground. The vistas here are breathtaking; every animal looks as though it’s floating in green space. It’s almost like snorkeling – the bright orange of the gazelle from head to toe, the vivid black and white stripes of the zebra, the dull brown of the wildebeest but in such mass it’s like a living train as the herd flows across the landscape. And lions, when we see them, stand out a mile. Usually they look like the bulls-eye – a large green target with a concentric circle of brown wildebeest around them.
This is the wet season.
Craig wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times today. He argues that fencing wildlife reserves in Africa is a cost-effective and necessary step to conserving Africa’s big mammals. The reasons that reserves need fencing now have to do with demographic changes over the half-century since they were established. He points out that fences won’t work for some reserves, especially those that depend on wildlife migration over reserve boundaries, but that for many, it may be an important step towards conservation sustainability. (For what it’s worth, those reserves like Tarangire with in-out migration may be doomed anyway, as human population and agriculture increase around the reserve and effectively block the migration anyway.)
Craig’s opinion piece derives from a study he and many others did comparing the success of Africa’s reserves based on various attributes of those reserves *. The effectiveness of conservation efforts is not usually measured; mostly, people would rather their money to go conservation actions rather than conservation monitoring programs. Lacking specific monitoring data, the approach of Craig’s study is one way to look at what works and what doesn’t when it comes to conservation. And the data say that fences work in (most) African wildlife reserves.
Your gut reaction to fencing wildlife areas might be aversion, or even horror. I know I wince when I consider the idea. Fences are unattractive. But they’re especially unattractive, I want to point out, for those of us with the luxury of living far from major human-wildlife conflict. If there were reasonable chances that a lion or leopard might carry off my child – or kill my livestock – or that elephants would trample my carefully tended crops – I would welcome a fence. North Americans and Europeans have historically come into conflict with wild animals when human needs for land, food, and fuel have increased. They have largely solved this human-wildlife conflict by eliminating the wildlife. Africans have done a better job of retaining their wildlife, but their needs for land, food, and fuel are also increasing. As unaesthetic as they might seem, maybe fences around wildlife reserves can help both Africa’s wildlife and its people.
* “Conserving large carnivores: dollars and fence” in Ecology Letters, 2013 Volume 16, pages 635-641. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12091
Authors: C. Packer A. Loveridge S. Canney T. Caro S.T. Garnett M. Pfeifer K.K. Zander A. Swanson D. MacNulty G. Balme H. Bauer C.M. Begg K.S. Begg S. Bhalla C. Bissett T. Bodasing H. Brink A. Burger A.C. Burton B. Clegg S. Dell A. Delsink T. Dickerson S.M. Dloniak D. Druce L. Frank P. Funston N. Gichohi R. Groom C. Hanekom B. Heath L. Hunter H.H. DeIongh C.J. Joubert S.M. Kasiki B. Kissui W. Knocker B. Leathem P.A. Lindsey S.D. Maclennan J.W. McNutt S.M. Miller S. Naylor P. Nel C. Ng’weno K. Nicholls J.O. Ogutu E. Okot‐Omoya B.D. Patterson A. Plumptre J. Salerno K. Skinner R. Slotow E.A. Sogbohossou K.J. Stratford C. Winterbach H. Winterbach S. Polasky.
Lion hunting is an active sport in Africa, with wealthy foreigners paying thousands of dollars for a chance to kill a lion and take its skin back home to taxidermy. Done right, lion hunting could benefit the species, by helping to pay for land protection and other conservation measures. However, too often it is done poorly.
For many years, Craig has been actively involved in figuring out how to do lion hunting sustainably. In 2009, he, Ali, and I, and a bunch of others wrote a paper (“Sport Hunting, Predator Control and Conservation of Large Carnivores”) about the pressures and dynamics of hunting large carnivores with a focus on lions and wolves. If you’re not a hunter yourself, you may believe that hunting and conservation are diametrically opposed to one another. But that’s not true; most hunters are also conservationists and many of the strongest wildlife protection laws in our country were championed by hunters. In our paper we explore the complexities that arise when you add the third party: not just hunters and conservationists, but also rural citizens, and particularly ranchers. While hunters want to maintain wildlife (to hunt, and often for other reasons as well), ranchers would be most happy if there were no predators around at all; predators like lions and wolves kill livestock and even threaten rural people. Wildlife managers then have the unhappy task of trying to please all three groups, and they often do so by employing hunters to maintain lower than full capacity predator populations.
Late last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responded to a petition to list African lions as endangered species, which would prohibit the importation into the U.S. of lion trophies. This week the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times about it, saying that doing so would cripple Tanzania’s ability to protect lions and other wildlife. Our intrepid safari reporter Chris Egert followed up with Craig on KSTP to get his take on the controversy. What do you think? Should the U.S. prohibit the importation of lion trophies? What do you think about hunting as a component of conservation? What can be done to reduce the conflict between large carnivores and the people who live (and tend livestock) near them? These are not questions with easy answers, and I’m curious to hear what Snapshot Serengeti fans think.
#### Today’s guest post is from Daniel Rosengren, one of the full-time field researchers on the Serengeti Lion Project. ####
The prettiest lion born in our study area lately got the code name “SPQ”. “SP” because she was born in the Spurs pride and “Q” because that’s the order she was born, starting from A. Fittingly, her more personal name thus became SuPer Qt (Super Cute). One might think that lions all look alike. But SuPer Qt definitely stands out with her striking looks.
The other day I found the still young SuPer Qt together with her mother and another adult female. They were resting in the tall grass, at least the old females were. SuPer Qt sat up scanning the plains around her for anything to eat. Suddenly lightning struck really near. Close enough not to give a thundering sound but a very loud bang. SuPer Qt jumped while the adults didn’t even react.
After the rain passed SuPer Qt spotted two warthogs in the distance and started stalking. She’s young but not too young to participate in hunts. The other females lifted their heads, saw the pigs and followed suit. I drove around in a big semi-circle to get closer without disturbing. The lions were lucky, the hogs walked straight towards them. Then their luck vanished, just like the warthogs down a burrow. At first, the lions seemed confused and looked around widely as they slowly pushed forward. I don’t know what gave the hiding place away but once the lions came within about 15 meters of the burrow they instantly knew the hogs were there.
All lions took turns digging. The two older and more experienced lions dug with more force and determination. SuPer Qt seemed to dig more randomly. Her inexperience showed in more comical ways too. Twice she managed to place herself in a position behind a digging lion, getting her face full of dirt. Another time she circled the burrow and instead of walking around the oldest female she decided to walk under it. Something got SuPer Qt’s attention down the hole and she stood up while still under the old female who got her hind legs air borne. The old female was too busy looking down the burrow to seem to notice. They stood like this for a good while until the old female ungracefully, one leg at the time, managed to get her hind feet on the ground again.
After a long time of digging, the lions finally gave up. They lay down about 20 meters from the hole and rested. Half an hour or so later, the warthogs emerged. They were watched by the lions as they walked away but never had to run for it. The warthogs lived to see another day and must have had a very thrilling time.
The rain is crazy. Not as windy as yesterday, when it blew our furniture off the veranda, but crazy nonetheless. I could see it coming, not just your typical clouds stretching to the earth in the distance – I could see the waves of water hitting the ground between the scattered trees, moving closer with every second. It was a race – I wanted to reach the valley, with its low profile and scattered trees, before the storm reached me. I know that in a lightening storm, you’re not supposed to seek shelter beneath a tree. But in my giant Landrover, with its 4.5 foot antennae beckoning to the sky, I don’t like being the only blip on the plains. Logical or not. (Comments from lightning experts welcome.)
And so here I am. Somewhere between cameras L05 and L06, hunkered down as the torrents of water wash over Arnold & me. The endless tubes of silicone sealant have done their job – most of me, and most of my equipment, is dry – there are only two leaks in the roof.
The sky is gray for miles – I am done for the day. It’s only 5pm! In wet season, I can normally work until 7pm, and still prep my car for camping before it’s too dark to see. Today feels like one of those cherished half-days from elementary school – not as magical as a snow day, mind you, but exciting nonetheless. Except I am trapped in my car…
So, with that, I open a beer, shake out the ants and grass clippings from my shirt, and hunker down in the front seat to wait out the rain. And to think. I’ve been thinking a lot about trees lately. Mostly what they mean for the how the carnivores are using their landscape.
See, from the radio-collaring data, we know that lions are densest in the woodlands. Living at high densities that is, not stupid. But the cameras in the woodlands don’t “see” lions very well. Out on the plains, a lone tree is a huge attractant. It’s the only shade for miles, the only blip on the horizon. All the carnivores, but expecially the musclebound, heat-stressed lions, will seek it out. In contrast, in the woodlands, even though there are more lions, the odds of them walking in front of the one of 10,000 trees that has my camera on it are…slim.
This map is one of many I’ve been making the last week or so. Here, lion densities, as calculated from radiocollar data, are the red background cells; camera traps are in circles, sized proportionally to the number of lions captured there. As you can see, the sheer number of lions captured in each camera trap doesn’t line up especially well with known lion densities. Disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising. One camera really only captures a very tiny window in front of it – not the whole 5km2 grid cell whose center it sits in. One of my goals, therefore, is to use what we know about the habitat to align the camera data with what we know about lion ranging patterns. I think the answer lies in characterizing the habitat at multiple different spatial scales – spatial scales that matter to the decision-making of a heat-stressed carnivore who sees blips on the horizon as oases of shade. And so I’m counting trees. Trees within 20 meters, 50 meters, 200 meters of the camera. One tree in a thick clump is still pretty attractive if that clump is the only thing for miles. Once I can interpret the landscape for lions, once I can match camera data with what we know to be true for lion ranging, I can be comfortable interpreting patterns for the other species. I hope.
The rain is letting up now, and it’s getting dark. Time to pack the car for camping – equipment on the roof and in the front seat. Bed in the back. And a sunset to watch with beer in hand.
Lions are a different species at night. During the day, they must remain hidden from their prey. But there is nothing secretive about a lion’s behavior on a moonless night. There is no skulking, no need to hide. The lions own the darkness.
The Kalahari Bushmen still live the traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our ancestors, and they frequently hunt at night – but only when the moon is above the horizon and bright enough for human eyes to detect shapes and movements. Without the light of the moon, say the Bushmen, the night belongs to the lions. So they divide the night with the lions according to the phase of the moon.
And if there is a lunar eclipse? That is just a hungry lion, placing her paw in front of the full moon, stealing a little extra darkness.
The Serengeti lions don’t feed well on moonlit nights. Lions have fuller bellies around the new moon; they are thinnest at the full moon. To compensate, they scavenge or hunt more during daylight hours. Wild herbivores are available to lions throughout the night, no matter what the moon is doing. However, humans universally stay up until around 10:00 pm or so and sleep until sunrise. If we’re going to be out and about at night, we’re out in the evening not before dawn.
By the full moon, the hours after sunset are so bright that you can read a newspaper. But the next night, the moon doesn’t rise until an hour after sunset; by the fourth night, the darkness persists for over three hours before the moon finally rises.
Outbreaks of man-eating lions have killed hundreds of people in southern Tanzania over the past twenty years. These are agricultural areas where lions mostly survive on bush pigs – agricultural pests that cause people to sleep in their fields to protect their harvests. Thus pigs provide the link between lions and vulnerable humans.
Former graduate students Hadas Kushnir and Dennis Ikanda visited survivors and victims’ families and recorded the precise time and date of 450 attacks on humans. Most occurred between sunset and 10:00 pm, and while the last few nights before the full moon were the safest, the first few nights after the full moon were three-and-a-half times more dangerous. After enduring the bright evenings prior to the full moon, the lions were hungry, and they mostly attacked people upon the return of evening darkness.
The full moon can feel spooky, and humans have constructed moon-related myths about werewolves and lunacy and Halloween. But there is no linkage between moon phase and suicide or admission to psychiatric institutions.
So what if the full moon doesn’t make you crazy but just makes you nervous? What if it keeps you safely indoors for a couple of nights?
The full moon isn’t dangerous in itself, but after a few million years of dividing our nights with lions, it would be surprising if we didn’t somehow sense the monthly dividing line between our time and lion time.
Here you can read the original research article about lions and the full moon.
You may have seen a snapshot of the lion Snaran when you were classifying:
The Lion Project is familiar with the individual lions in the area where the camera traps are set up, and so we can give you Snaran’s back story. Craig Packer writes:
Field assistant Ingela Jansson first saw Snaran on 22-Sept 2009 together with three other males along the Ngare Nanyuki River in a favorite area for two of our long-term study prides, the Loliondos and the Young Transects. The four new males were all shy, but Ingela eventually managed to get close enough to take photos and note down their ear notches and whisker spots. These identifying marks are how we keep track of individuals. She named them Snaran (Snare in Swedish), Faran (Danger), Karan & Twaran (made-up names).
Snaran had a fresh large scar around his neck, obviously caused by a snare, but it was impossible to tell if the snare was still there. Eight days later, Ingela found Snaran and his three brothers together with the Loliondo females. Ingela asked a veterinarian to come dart Snaran with tranquilizer and treat his snare wound. No wire was found, so Snaran must have wounded his neck while pulling himself free from the snare.
A year or so later field assistant Daniel Rosengren asked the vets to handle Snaran a second time, because his wound wasn’t healing. They worried that a snare may still be well dug into his flesh, but a metal detector found nothing. Snaran has otherwise remained in good shape, and the four males have stayed on as resident males for both the Loliondo and Young Transect prides.
The camera trap snapshot of Snaran is from March 25, 2011. Comment on it on Snapshot Serengeti’s ‘Talk’ pages.
Lions have a reputation for being profoundly lazy. To the list of inert elements of neon, krypton and argon, it is tempting to add lion. But while lions do sleep for most of the day, they are not idle slackers; they are profoundly patient.
Lions are ambush predators: they lie in wait. There is no need to be antsy during those long hours between hunting opportunities. If a group of lions has caught something recently or failed in a chase, they’ve given away their location, which all the prey in the vicinity will avoid for the rest of the day. But the Serengeti is a moveable feast, and any prey animals that slowly drift in to the area will have little idea of the precise location of danger, if the lions are hiding quietly in tall grass.
On the other hand, lions do tend to wait around near river courses and rocky outcrops, and herbivores will avoid these spots as much as possible. But if there is only one waterhole in the vicinity, the wildebeest, zebra, warthog and buffalo will have to weigh their thirst against the risks of being eaten, should there be lions hiding in those bushes over there. And if nothing stumbles blindly towards them, hungry lions will eventually have to emerge and actively search for their prey – but not until after dark.
Either way, it’s a game that predators and prey must play every day of their lives, but since lions can easily wait 3-4 days between meals, they have a fundamentally different perspective on the passage of time than the rest of us.
And that’s what makes the camera-trap data so incredibly exciting for me. In the mid-1980’s, I took turns with one of my former graduate students, David Scheel, watching lions 96 consecutive hours twice a month for several years – we were out with the lions for four days in a row just before and after each full moon, squinting through night-vision goggles whenever the moon was above the horizon. I nearly went out of my mind waiting for the lions to catch their next meal. We wanted to find out why lions live in social groups – and we were able to dispense with the myth that lions evolved to become social because of advantages from cooperative hunting: individual females in foraging groups didn’t feed any better than solitary females.
But there were so many more questions that we couldn’t hope to address without a better idea how lions and their prey play that spatial game of cat and mouse around the waterholes. And maybe the prey take advantage of the lions’ territorial behavior by finding refuge in the no-man’s land between pride ranges, or maybe the prey somehow move randomly from nowhere in particular to nowhere else in particular just to keep the lions guessing. A few years ago, Ali Swanson and I found that the Serengeti lions consistently fed better during the dark phase of the moon – what extra steps do the prey take to try to keep safe on those dark, dark nights?
We will finally be able to tackle these ideas with the camera-trap data. In the coming months and years, we will overlay the camera-trap grid on to maps of high-risk features in the landscape and of lion-telemetry sightings, and then we will finally see how the Serengeti herbivores cope with the uncertainties of living with the hidden dangers of those not-so-lazy lions.
Craig (my adviser and the Director of the Lion Project) sometimes jokes that I wandered into his office looking to study tigers. It’s actually sort of true. I had been at the University of Minnesota to interview with a tiger researcher – but fell in love with the science that Craig’s team was conducting. Six months later I became the newest addition to the Lion Lab.
As part of the Lion Lab, my dissertation research focuses on how lions coexist with other large carnivores – hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs. Understanding how species coexist is a really big question in ecology. When two species eat the same thing, the species that eats (& reproduces) faster can exclude the slower species from that area. A lot of ecology is devoted to understanding the conditions that allow for coexistence in the face of such competition. The natural world is an incredibly diverse place, and it turns out the plants and animals have all sorts of strategies to survive together – though we’ll have to dive into those details another day.
Carnivores throw a bit of a wrench into our understanding of coexistence – even when they don’t eat exactly the same prey, they harass each other, steal food from each other, and even kill each other – and these aggressive interactions can result in dramatic suppression or even complete exclusion of certain species. For example, there’s a fair bit of evidence that wild dogs have a tough time surviving in areas with lots of lions and hyenas – not because lions and hyenas kill wild dogs, but because they steal food from them. Since wild dogs expend so much energy hunting, they simply can’t afford to lose those calories to scavengers. These patterns aren’t actually unique to large carnivores – a lot of animals, from bugs to birds, interact this way. However, since carnivores range over such large areas, it can be challenging to understand their dynamics.
That’s where the camera traps come in. The long term lion research project provides incredible amounts of detailed data on what lions do, where they are, and how successful they are at reproducing. By adding the camera survey on top of the lion study area, I can collect information about the other carnivore species and integrate it with the detailed lion data to ask bigger questions than could be answered with one dataset alone. Unfortunately, there aren’t any wild dogs left within the study area, but I can still investigate how lions coexist with leopards, cheetahs and hyenas. It’s a bit gruesome when you get down to it — lions tend to dominate all the other species when it comes to one-on-one interactions, stealing their food or even just killing them for no apparent reason. For example, lions kill somewhere between 25-55% of cheetah cubs! And you can see here Stan’s photos of lions just killing…and leaving…a leopard.
Lions will also kill hyenas, but enough hyenas can be a pretty solid threat to lions – able to steal carcasses or kill their cubs. Leopards sometimes kill and eat lion cubs. We don’t yet know if hyenas and leopards do this at a rate that actually hurts lions in the long-term, but we’re hoping to find out.
One of the key things I’m trying to find out is how these species use their habitat with respect to each other. Research in other ecosystems shows that smaller carnivores (those that usually lose a fight) can get pushed out of large areas, existing sort of in the ‘no-man’s land’ between top carnivore territories – and when this happens, their numbers can plummet. However, if the smaller carnivore can just avoid the larger one within its territory, they might be able to coexist. A lot of this depends on the habitat complexity – for example, in open areas, it’s harder for the smaller guy to hide.
The camera traps let me evaluate these different patterns of avoidance to understand how lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs all coexist in Serengeti National Park. Once we understand their dynamics in Serengeti, we can hopefully understand why they do or don’t coexist elsewhere. It’s a pretty cool science question – and it’s also an amazing adventure. I head back to Serengeti this January for my final field season, and am looking forward to sharing the adventure with you on this blog.