The students spent their weekend at Mpala Research Centre taking part in a unique
community science research project. The Grevy’s zebra is a distinctive and endangered
species of zebra found in Kenya, but its exact population size is unknown. As a
threatened species, knowing how many Grevy’s zebra remain, and their distribution and
movements is critical to managing and rehabilitating their numbers. This is the same as
when people fill in a census every 10 years.
Dr. Dan Rubenstein giving a lecture on the Grevy’s Zebra.
The Great Grevy’s Rally aims to solve this problem by combining people’s power and
technology to gather data on these beautiful creatures. Participants are provided with a
project camera, a recording sheet, and assigned a part of the landscape to survey for
Grevy’s in their vehicles. The cameras are used to snap pictures of the zebras to capture the
unique ‘fingerprint’ of their stripes. The researchers can then feed the collected images into
a computer that ‘reads’ the patterns on the stripes and calculates how many Grevy’s are
present in the landscape.
Students undergoing the Great Grevy’s Rally training.
On two days over the weekend, the students went out in two land cruisers looking for
Grevy’s. On day one, the two teams recorded a total of 9 Grevy’s – not bad! But on day two,
the teams spotted more than 15!
Grevy’s zebra spotted at Segera.
The work will continue over the next months and years as the researchers crunch the
numbers, and it is reassuring that projects like the Great Grevy’s Rally are working so hard
to protect these amazing animals. The students had a huge amount of fun and while out
snapping also saw many elephants, a jackal, baboons, and a lot more!
Libby and Mishy playing the ‘concentration’ game during lunch break.
Students enjoying the game drive during the rally.
A group photo at Baculi viewpoint.
Stay tuned for more updates soon!