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Session II: Techniques for Wildlife Field Research


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Location Rhotia, Tanzania
Language English

2015: July 13 - August 11

Rolling admissions. Early submissions encouraged for acceptance into program of choice.

$6,895 ($1,000 discount for enrolling in two East Africa sessions; Includes all tuition, room, board, local travel. Excludes airfare)

Financial Aid Click here for more information about need-based scholarships, loans, and travel grants.

College Undergraduates: No academic prerequisites

Credits 4 credits (8 credits if taken with Session I)


Northern Tanzania, home of world famous national parks such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, as well as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, offer a tightly packed hub of wildlife conservation. This magnificent setting on the Maasai Steppe will be our 'learning laboratory.' Expeditions to the national parks will be frequent. This is an extremely scenic area and is the center of nature tourism in the East Africa region.

Traditional pastoralism is also practiced here in what has been the home of the Maasai and Iraqw people for centuries. Northern Tanzania is a place where members of local communities interact with wildlife on a daily basis. For these reasons, this area provides an excellent opportunity to examine some of the challenges and opportunities of conservation in Tanzania, including human-wildlife interaction.

Students will be exposed to a rich array of issues related to wildlife management and conservation, and in methods and practices in wildlife field research. Summer sessions are presented by SFS faculty and guests who have years of field experience and grounded knowledge of this area in Tanzania. Field lectures and field trips will comprise a critical component of this summer program.



While the basics of wildlife counting and observation were heavily emphasized, I also appreciated the strong focus on the impact and involvement of local communities in conservation concerns. The exercises and interviews conducted within the communities we visited really put into perspective the importance of ‘people skills’ in the field of wildlife management.        

— Emma Thomas, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Summer ‘14



In this second session, students learn a suite of field research techniques and methods for studying wildlife ecology and assessing management policies and practices in East Africa. The focus is on the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, where we practice field techniques in national parks, community wildlife management areas, and in villages.

Students learn foundational field skills in observation and evaluations of wildlife, as well as interactive methods used for assessing local community attitudes and behaviors toward conservation efforts, and apply these techniques to advance long-term research goals at our Center.

Students also learn effective species identification; sampling and data analysis methods for flora and fauna; large mammal behavioral study methods; remote and on-ground sensing and spatial mapping; social survey design and interviewing skills; and communication skills.



  • Acquire quantitative skills to determine species density, diversity, and habitat preference among species within a conservation area; on trips, learn how to plan, prepare, and conduct a comprehensive game count of wildlife
  • Gain skills in collecting behavioral ecology data on birds, primates, elephants and other animals
  • Determine species-habitat relationships and differentiate between habitat specialists and habitat generalists; understand the implications of observed relationships for the management of animals and habitat
  • Through direct interaction and inquiry with local community members, assess local views on community wildlife conservation initiatives including identifying the various forms of human wildlife associated losses and people’s attitudes towards wildlife and resource challenges



This course may be taken independently or in combination with the Wildlife Management and Conservation course in Tanzania (Session I). This summer program provides a thorough introduction to wildlife management and the research methods routinely used to assess wildlife ecology.

  • Students participating in two summer sessions in East Africa are eligible for a $1,000 discount.
  • Students earn 8 credits
  • Home school financial aid may be applied toward the program. Earning 8 credits likely will allow students to qualify for federal financial aid, depending on their particular situation.
  • There are no prerequisites
  • Possible SFS travel grants may apply for airfare


Students will stay at Moyo Hill Camp, our field station in Tanzania under The SFS Center for Wildlife Management Studies. Students will live in the Manyara area, about a 10 minutes drive from Lake Manyara National Park and a half hour from the famous Ngorongoro National Park. This wonderfully scenic area, world-renowned for its beauty, geography, history, and wildlife, is perched on an escarpment overlooking the Rift valley and the Ngorongoro Hills, with plenty of hiking trails to enjoy.