Hey guys! I'm Ana, a Canadian student that's just returned from studying an MRes in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Southampton, UK.
I've spent the last year investigating the impacts of various grazing regimes on the vegetation, soil and herbivores in Kenya's Maasai Mara.
Land degradation in human-wildlife interfaces are hot-topic issues and the Maasai Mara offered a unique environment to explore grazing research as the best way to meet both wildlife and human needs. What was particularly challenging was navigating conservancy stakeholders, rangers and pastoralist support throughout data collection.
As grazing is such a hot-topic, it was often the catalyst to a discussion on best practices where it was essential that my guide could translate what they were doing and why, in order to maintain a healthy rapport.
The study found rotational grazing and livestock exclusion offered the richest vegetation structure, although ongoing analysis is required to uncover the exact mechanisms!
Now that I've finished my research I look forward to continuing down the land management route and hope to return to East Africa for further research opportunities!