Tanzania’s Only Camp-Based Big Cat Biologists
Njozi Camp is the fieldwork base to develop young local wildlife biologists, who gain experience as they conduct original big cat research, which began in 2014. Our biologists rotate to join guests on game drives and record data on the individual big cats we encounter. This gives our guests a unique opportunity to observe and learn, as our guide-biologist teams have a superior level of knowledge about Ndutu big cats.
Our intensive data collection also means we have a good understanding of each cat’s and lion pride’s home ranges, favorite haunts and movement patterns, increasing the chances of finding them on game drives.
Traditionally most wildlife research in Africa has been done by foreign researchers. We saw a need to contribute to the development of local capacity in this critical field. A stay in our camp contributes to creating entry-level wildlife biologist jobs, helping to develop biologists’ field skills but also critical interpersonal skills. This also allows us to collect long-term monitoring data on big cats that can assist with their conservation. In exchange, guests receive a much deeper wildlife safari experience than the typical safari and can depart knowing they’ve helped train the Tanzanian wildlife biologists needed to conserve this magnificent heritage far into the future.
Fadhil Magoye – Tanzania Safari Guide/Wildlife Biologist
Fadhil is Deo’s son and was fortunate to learn about the natural world and guiding from a master throughout his childhood. Fadhil grew up loving wildlife and fascinated by the secrets of nature. He had a vision of becoming one of the people that will conserve natural habitats within Tanzania and beyond. This led to college studies on wildlife.
With guiding Fadhil is able to combine his wildlife and conservation interests. Amazingly Fadhil’s first guiding job was with Asilia Africa as a resident guide at Olakira Camp. The annual hiring process starts with 150 applicants invited in, that narrows to 30 candidates for a 3 day intensive testing process resulting in just 10 guides being selected for an impressive 6 week training session. Fadhil served as a resident guide at Olakira for 2 ½ years learning both the Ndutu and Northern Serengeti areas intimately to the point of having remarkable knowledge of individual big cats and the events in their lives.
In addition to guiding Fadhil is putting his wildlife studies to work as he working as a wildlife biologist on our Ndutu/Serengeti big cat research project.
Sosy Maria – Wildlife Biologist
Sosy Maria was hired to be Njozi’s camp-based staff wildlife biologist in January 2014. Sosy is a graduate from the College of African Wildlife Management in the Arusha area, which is the premier Institue of higher learning for wildlife research and management in the region. The curriculum focused on practical education with time spent out in the field learning wildlife research techniques and participating in on-going research projects.
Sosy has been the principal investigator of the camp’s big cat research in the Ndutu/Serengeti region. He has been working to identify individual cheetah, leopard, and prides of lions. By determining how to identify individuals within the population we are able to provide the reference data set for testing an identification software program that is being developed. Sosy is recording locations and tracking movements for each cat to map their ranges. He is also observing behaviors such as hunting and collecting data to see if tourism is having any impacts on hunting success. Through his daily studies of the cats in the region Sosy has an unmatched knowledge of many of the individual cats that we encounter on safari.