Research opportunitiesResearch opportunities

There is always a need for third party researchers on Ol Pejeta, and research areas are reviewed regularly to address any new challenges. All external researchers are required to send their research proposals to Ol Pejeta’s Ecological Monitoring Department for review before consent is given on the commencement of the field work. Once the research is approved and on-going, the researchers would be required to submit electronic and hard copies of progress and final reports. The list of research opportunities are listed below:

Research on Habitats

Black and White Rhino:

    • Changes in rhino browse availability
    • Development of methods to continuously measure browse pressure and predict future browse availability with particular reference to black rhino
    • Assess grazing competition between white rhinos and other grazers(domestic and wild)
  1. Research on Animal populations
  1. Predator/Prey Dynamics (with reference to key ungulates on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy):
  • Investigation, development, implementation and comparison of various methods to establish and monitor predator numbers (In particular hyena, jackals, leopard and cheetah)
  • Investigation of ecological factors limiting survival of ostriches
  1. Patas Monkeys
  • Assessment and mapping of sleeping sites with particular reference to Acacia drepanolobium
  • Quantification/assessment of the food resource (ant galls, gum, fruits) available to Patas, and suggestion of methods to improve food availability
  • Determine the distribution, abundance, conservation status and threats of primates especially Patas on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. From the findings of this study recommend appropriate conservation efforts and design a long term primate monitoring programme
  1. Research on Livestock/Wildlife Interaction
  • Scale of resource competition and interaction between livestock and wild herbivores
  • In comparison with the surrounding range an examination of plant productivity, plant composition, overall biodiversity and intensity of use by wildlife of nutrient rich grazing lawns created by livestock enclosures
  • Seasonal variations of tick/parasite load of various mammal species as an indication of health status and resistance levels
  • Effects of acaricides on bird species, especially oxpeckers
  • Disease transmission from livestock to wildlife and vice versa
  • An economic appraisal of an integrated livestock/wildlife system in comparison to systems where one or the other is largely excluded; this to assess and quantify intangible costs and benefits, for example ecological effects
  • Ecological benefits of holistic habitat management in comparison to traditional methods
  • An examination of the links between wildlife movement and/or occurrence, with cattle movement/presence and disease incidence
  • Carrying capacities for various wildlife species with a particular look at the herbivore:predator ratio
  • The integration of Ol Pejeta and ADC Mutara management: opportunities to contrast between the two properties for disease pathogens, and compare pastoral cattle movement with Ol Pejeta cattle movement (distance, area, etc), with implications for disease and pathogen monitoring
  1. Research on General Biodiversity
  • Species inventories to identify and list key taxa including mammals, birds and plants (woody, herbaceous & grasses). Diversity and abundance estimates. Identification of possible indicator species
  • Exotic plant species: occurrence, prevalence, possible species associations, rate of invasion and impacts on native species
  • Characterization and mapping of habitat types and associated soil types and nutrient levels
  • Collation and compilation of detailed historical baseline information on Ol Pejeta’s natural resources
  1. Review of Research Projects
  • A critical review and collation of past and current research projects with a summary of findings that may be pertinent to management
  • Production of a Standard Operating Procedures manual that details the ecological monitoring protocols and methods to be used by the Ol Pejeta Conservancy
  1. Monitoring Programmes in Adjacent Community Areas
  • Scale and impacts of water abstraction and use of farm chemicals on Ol Pejeta’s ecosystem and its natural resources
  • Scale and effects of habitat degradation especially cutting of trees for charcoal burning and cultivation along river banks
  • Scale of overgrazing and resource competition between wildlife and livestock in the surrounding northern pastoral communities
  • Prevalence of disease transmission between livestock and wildlife in the surrounding northern pastoral communities occasioned my livestock movements especially in dry seasons