Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Uganda students in Kibale National Park

Finally back into the connected world of the Internet, after six days in the tropical rainforest environment of Kibale National Park, famous for its diversity of both plants and primates, not to mention a wonderful array of birds.

The ten final year veterinary students who have accompanied me have been subjected to an array of new sounds and sights from both the human and animal world, and are beginning to gel as a team. We have been fortunate to work with dedicated Ugandan faculty and much enjoyed the quite humour of Dr. JB Nizeyi, who is a faculty member at the veterinary school in Kampala and also the local head of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Program. Our instructors in Kibale, where we worked out of the Makerere University Field Station at Kanyawara, were Dr. John Kasenene, director of the station, and Dr. Gil Basuta. John is a forest ecologist with a vast knowledge of the plants in the forest, and a special interest in medicinal plants. Gils’s strengths lie with mammals, and he has an uncanny ability to excite entertain and educate students all that the same time. . This portrait of Gil shows him at his entertaining best. His discussion of chimpanzee politics is worth the wait, and something I would not miss, although I have heard it every year that I have been bringing students.

Yesterday we moved from Kibale to Queen Elizabeth National Park and here I am in the Mweya Safari Lodge using the rather slow dial-up that is the bets we can get. Pictures to accompany this blog are going to be hard to add. The students have already had close(not dangerous) encounters of the elephant kind, watching tiny infants rush under the bellies of their mothers, and we visited Kasenyi Primary school where the solar system that we purchased in Kampala will be installed in the next couple of days so that educational videos can be run. The official opening of the set-up is scheduled for Saturday, so I do hope that at least one picture will make it.

No comments: