Sarah Durant

Name ID 1127

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 19e
Extract Date: 1996 08 Jul

Sarah cheetah

I leave Hugo and fly north to Seronera. This is the location of the park headquarters and the research camp. Everyone in the research camp seems to have a nickname relating to what they are researching or doing. There is 'John wildebeest', 'Jane of the Serengeti', 'Tracy balloon', 'Sarah cheetah', 'Sarah rabies', 'Sarah simba', and 'the hyenas'.

Sarah Durant has been here for five years researching cheetahs. Her project is a long range one which involves tracking known individuals by spots and markings. The mortality, birth rate, and different aspects of cheetah behavior are recorded to predict how the population will behave and how the cheetahs fit into the ecosystem. Sarah uses a sound system to play back lion and hyena sounds to cheetahs in order to record their reaction. Sarah has observed that the most successful cheetah mothers are the ones who move the farthest from the lion calls. We travel out into the plains and set up the equipment near some cheetahs. When the lion sound is played, the female cheetah looks up and analyzes the sound. It then usually takes her about 15 minutes to then get up and move from 500 meters to one kilometer away. Sarah takes a lot of time recording the smallest details of behavior in her notebook and the times that they occur. It almost seems to be over-analyzing their behavior to me until she explains that only 5% of young cheetah cubs reach maturity due to predation by lion and hyena, so the little details matter. Sarah plays hyena 'whooping' sounds through her speaker. This is a contact call which they make as they are moving around. The 'giggling sound' they make only when they are on a kill. However, neither of these sounds seem to disturb the cheetahs as much as the lion calls. The furthest distance that Sarah has been able to locate a cheetah is 7.5 kilometers. She has to find them with binoculars first, then she can follow and observe them. 90% of the cheetah's diet is Thompson's Gazelle, so most often, you will find them perched up on an old termite mound surveying the horizon. Sarah tells me that she wants to find out what is best for the cheetah in the long term. 'You don't want to encourage them being pets. This is what wiped them out in Asia; the Maharajas used them for hunting.'

Sarah tells me that the Tanzanians have no concept that tourists should get something for their money when they come here. 'Just look at the menu and how much you have to pay to stay in the lodges here,' she says with a smile, and yet, this is also what Sarah likes the most about this place - that it just doesn't matter. 'I think people need something beautiful in their lives and wilderness is beautiful - like art and culture. This is why this place is important,' she says. When you sit out in the wilderness all day looking at nature all around you, you begin to realize this. She tells me that Coco Chanel once said, 'Nature gives you the face you have at 20, but it is up to you to merit the face you have at 50.' We all earn our face.

Extract ID: 3660

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: by staff Writer
Page Number: 268
Extract Date: 3 May 2003

TAWIRI sets in motion carnivore monitoring project

The Arusha-based, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) is currently implementing a special project on carnivore monitoring in Tanzania.

The project is being undertaken with supports from the Darwin Initiative (DI) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

The carnivore monitoring project is aimed at understanding the animals distribution, abundance plus developing a national plan for conserving threatened species such as cheetahs and wild dogs.

Director General of TAWIRI, Dr. Charles Mlingwa said this is a second project to be funded by the Darwin Initiative (DI). The first one led to drawing up of the new wildlife research agenda in Tanzania.

A carnivore monitoring project workshop was held in Arusha this week, at Impala hotel. The one day workshop was officially opened by the acting director general of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Gerard Bigurube.

Mr. Bigurube, noted that, human beings are competing with carnivores for space and dwindling resources. In view of the competition carnivores are under threatened.

Among the workshop presenters was Dr. Sarah Durant who presented papers on carnivore bio-diversity and conservation specific status of wild dogs and cheetahs.

Maurus Msuha addressed the Tanzania carnivore conservation project, Neil Baker dealt with the Tanzania birds atlas project, while both Lara Foley and Scott Harrison spoke of the use of GIS in bio-diversity monitoring.

GIS is the new Geographic Information System that stores maps digitally and linking them to databases and is the key component of the Tanzania atlas carnivore project.

Dr. George Sabuni, the TAWIRI Director of Research gave a brief background on the research institute which has five research centres at Njiro, Gombe, Kingupira, Mahale and Serengeti.

Extract ID: 4194