I’m back in Rhotia after my inter-session vacation in Zanzibar. I visited Stone town, some beaches and islands, as well as a spice farm and several historic points. I learned about the infamous culture of slave trade, the Arab legacy in the island and the diversity of crops.
The slave market and how the trade worked was a sad learning experience. I eventually got overwhelmed and shared a tear. Also, I was reflecting about how my ancestry related to such business and got goosebumps to think that I was there standing before my people. I was part of their legacy.
If the people of Africa and the natives of America would have not survived the colonial times, I would have not been there. It was a terrifying realization. However, you also learn about the fight for freedom and the liberation, so it gave me a little relief. It made me think deeply about the current forms of slavery and how mindful I have to be to not support it and to spread the word (even more) about it.
On the other hand, I defied my fear of snorkeling and enjoyed boat rides watching the sunset. Also, I listened islander music, danced and ate coconut rice. More importantly, I got to see the unique and endemic wildlife such as the red Colobus Monkey and the giant tortoises of Prison Island.
This week we started with the introductions to the topics that will be covered in this session. I am very excited about this course because it applies to my career path of carnivore conservation.
We learned about the ecology of hyenas, leopards and cheetahs. In addition to the conservation issues and efforts done in East Africa for large carnivores.
Our first assignment was very interesting. It was a presentation of the benefits of using large carnivores as umbrella species to conserve habitats and other species. Our reserach showed that single species of large carnivore are not that effective as “umbrellas”, but the guild of carnivores that share a habitat seems like a better option.