This episode is the third part of a series all about my dissertation research on African forest elephants. People were really curious about how I actually went about this (how does one study elephants?), so I made a series about how I set up the research and what it was like to study them. Make sure you are up to date with the first two episodes: #24. How Do You Study Elephants? The Start of My Journey and #25. Choosing a Field Site for Forest Elephant Research.
This week’s episode is all about preparing for my first field season – all of the steps I had to take to get there, and what studying forest elephants is really like.
The last time we left off, I was planning to work in Ivindo National Park. Now it’s time for me to get my permits, find funding to pay for my trip and lab work, and start my field work. But the first rule of science is that things never go as planned…
This week’s episode is all about these next steps. Specifically, I talk about:
- How I sought after funds to pay my field season: my time at the research station, field assistants, and fuel. Was I successful?
- Getting permits to work in a foreign country and overcoming language barriers
- Dealing with problems right from the start
- What field work is really like – how do you actually study forest elephants in the field?
- More problems: making mistakes in approaches to research, wasting time and money on things that didn’t work, dealing with difficult elephants
- and MORE!
Resources and Sources Mentioned in First Field Season
Stephanie Schuttler is a wildlife biologist with 17 years of experience in mammal ecology and conservation, education, and outreach. Read her inspirational story, “My Unexpected Journey Into Science” to find out how she went from the daughter of a jeweler to a Ph.D. in wildlife biology. Feel free to contact Stephanie here.