That’s exactly what the HALI team was asking this October in Ruaha National Park. No, it wasn’t a safari or game drive, just another day at the office for team members Annette Roug, Deana Clifford, Goodluck Paul, Erasto Katowo, and the Ruaha National Park veterinarian, Dr. Epaphras Alex.
The team spent four days in Ruaha testing different methods for counting buffalo to find the best method for determining the number of males and females, and young and old animals in each herd. The team counted animals from the project Land Rover, and also video taped the herds to see if video playback will assist with the count. Why you might ask? Well, determining the number of calves and cows, the body condition of the buffalo, and the number of buffalo in each herd is an important first step for determining if Ruaha’s buffalo populations are declining or impacted by disease. Additionally, the team collected fecal samples from buffalo and impala for disease and parasite testing.
After the initial sampling effort, Dr. Roug, who is a PhD candidate from UC Davis, will be refining her study approach and applying for funding to conduct additional buffalo health work in Ruaha in collaboration with the Tanzania National Parks.
There are 41 buffalo in the picture…