Benefits of our Research
Long-term support of our hyena research has yielded myriad benefits to lay and scientific communities. Our camp has served as a field base for scientists studying other African mammals (eg., Van Valkenburgh 1996; Blanchong et al 1999; Blanchong & Smale 2000), we have assisted wildlife managers and tour operators concerned with "problem" hyenas, and we have made available to many investigators samples of hyena blood, DNA, or skeletal material (eg., Biknevicius 1996; Biknevicius & Leigh 1997). We have also made unpublished DNA sequences from Crocuta available to other investigators, and we have contributed important skeletal material to museums in the US and Kenya. Each year 1999-2002 we have taught an undergraduate field course (N=18 students/yr) on mammalian behavioral ecology in Kenya using materials borrowed form our research camp (see course details here). We have also produced several publications and films for lay audiences (eg., Smale & Holekamp 1991, 1993; Holekamp & Smale 1998b; 2000b; films produced by BBC, National Geographic, CNN, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet), and we give 20 to 50 lectures on hyenas each year to groups of students and tourists.
In June 2006, the charity organization "Kila Nafasi" was founded by two members of our lab, in association with the Maasai Community Education and Support Program (MCESP) and its chairperson, John Keshe. Kila Nafasi works as a U.S.-based fundraiser for the MCESP, raising money to assist with the education and related support for Kenyan school children. Kila Nafasi has been taken over by the Education for the Future Foundation. Read more on their website Kila Nafasi (every opportunity) http://kilanafasi.org/