Session II: Techniques for Wildlife Field Research


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Location Rhotia, Tanzania
Language English
Dates 2016: July 11 – August 10
Rolling admissions. Early submissions encouraged for acceptance into program of choice.
Program Cost
Click here for program costs. Program cost includes all tuition, room, board, local travel. Excludes airfare.
Financial Aid Click here for more information about need-based scholarships, loans, and travel grants.
Prerequisites No academic prerequisites; 18 years of age
Credits 4 credits (8 credits if taken with Session I)
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



Northern Tanzania, home of world-famous national parks such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, offers a tightly packed hub for wildlife conservation and tourism opportunities amid a growing human population and development activities. This magnificent setting on the Maasai steppe is our classroom.

Expeditions to the national parks and other protected areas offer students significant opportunities to experience hands-on learning about environmental issues and a suite of strategies for resolving them.

In this second session, students learn a suite of field research techniques and methods for studying wildlife ecology and assessing management policies and conservation practices in Tanzania. 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 evaluation 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 gain an understanding of sound scientific principles and practices that can be used in other global environmental contexts.

Students practice various field skills including 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
  • 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 summer course can be taken individually (4 credits) or in combination with Session I: Wildlife Management & Conservation (8 credits). The combined summer program provides a thorough introduction to community wildlife management and the research methods routinely used to assess wildlife ecology. Students participating in both sessions receive a $1,000 discount.


Students live at Moyo Hill Camp (MHC) in Tanzania’s Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem between Lake Manyara National Park and the famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This wonderfully scenic area is world-renowned for its beauty, geography, history, and wildlife. MHC is a fenced facility nestled among maize plantations and other crop fields. Students reside among the native acacia and fig trees, and birdsong fills the air in the morning. The camp consists of multiple buildings including an administrative block, a chumba, which serves as an eating and social activity center, a classroom and library, and a computer room. MHC is part of the small community of Rhotia where students can enjoy daily interaction with neighbors. Walking, jogging, soccer, and socializing outside of the camp round out daily life at MHC.