Twiga, Tembo, and Pumba, Oh My!

Blog from Nina S, photos from Chris and Kelsi

Over the last week we had the honor of living and working with the NGO Wildlife Connection. This NGO specializes in bridging the gap between wildlife and humans. We worked with them to build elephant friendly fences for local farmers. Elephants will often travel outside of Ruaha National Park, looking for food, often finding it on farms and tramping all the crops in their vicinity. The bee hive fences work because elephants have an innate fear of bees. We worked two long and challenging days on the fencing. We split into groups to make the building process easier. Kevin, Riley and JT carried the beehives through the cornfield. Nanci and I measured out where all the posts has to go. Jack, Moreh, George
and James all dug the holes for the posts using “pongas” aka machetes. Once we finished our work for the day, we headed to the library that Wildlife Connection created for the community kids. The room was cramped with all 11 of us and a number of local kids. The library was full of books for the children to pursue for fun or to further their education. We ended up spending a couple hours playing Tanzanian games. If we are being honest most of us had no idea what we were
Once we left the library we headed back to camp to catch up on some sleep or maybe play with the camp dog, Rafiki (the best puppy in the whole world). We spent our other afternoon going on a hike to a lodge with a breathtaking view. Once we reached our destination, Adam, one of the biologists at Wildlife Connection, gave us a little talk about conservation.

After our tough two days of work we FINALLY go to go on safari!!! I cannot speak for the rest of the group but the safari was one of the most exciting things ever. If you can’t tell I’m a huge animal person. Our guides Roy and George, were able to tell us all about the different animals in Ruaha National Park, the largest park in Tanzania. It was also baby animal season! Throughout our days we saw zebras, elephants, giraffe, hippos, crocodile, gazelle, so many impala
and even 2 lions! One of the most exciting moments was when our vehicle got between some baby elephants and the adults. Not surprising, the adult elephants were furious and started trumpeting and mock charging. It was spectacular. You could never imagine the feeling of power and strength that the elephants were giving off. Seeing the lions was the coolest thing ever!!!!! We found two lionesses sleeping in the grass and got amazing views of them. They are truly the most magnificent creatures. Being on Safari allowed us to put into perspective all that we learned about conservation. Seeing
African animals in their natural habitat was one of the best experiences of my life.

Next stop, Kigali, Rwanda!

p.s. Hi mom and dad!

Learn more about The Wildlife Connection’s amazing work here!