We just completed another survey for giraffes and other ungulates as part of our Project GIRAFFE and TUNGO programs in northern Tanzania. We conduct surveys towards the end of each of three precipitation season, the short rains, long rains, and dry season. We identify individual giraffes using photographs of their unique spot patterns - so we know where they are and with whom they spend their time - and we also map the location and number of all the hoofed mammals (ungulates) in the Tarangire Ecosystem. Our data are providing critical information about population trends and habitat use of these ecologically and economically important animals.
We got off to a bit of a rocky start with some heavy rains, and ended up stuck in mud, but once things dried up a bit we had a very successful survey.
The Tarangire Ecosystem of Tanzania is a stunning place, supporting one of the highest densities of large mammals on the planet. The ungulates we are working to study and conserve are key to the health of this ecosystem, shaping the vegetation, spreading nutrients, and comprising a critical component in the savanna's web of life. Without the ungulates, there would be no predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs, nor would there be scavengers like vultures, all of which enable the tourism economy here to thrive. We thank our funders for helping us to protect this critical region.
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