Time to get rolling

Wow, it has been so long since I added in a post to this website, I figured I had better write something to show people I am alive.  I am afraid the covid quagmire has made things really bog down.  However, kudos to the grad students in our lab for ‘keeping the faith’ and pressing on.   During the current academic year we have had a quasi-normal existence in the lab, although of course there are still restrictions on how we move about on campus.  One important thing we achieved was the 25th year of monitoring the small mammal community near Kamloops through fall mark/recapture trapping session.  This has involved hundreds and hundreds of undergrads, as well as effort by graduate students to lead trapping teams.  This year Jade played a large role in keeping the data rolling in.  We got a bit of local publicity over the project, which I’ll try to find and showcase in another post.

A large activity in our lab over the past 8 months has been the re-invention of the BC Reptiles & Amphibian website.  The original website focuses just on reptiles, and was established by myself and a government colleague at least 15 years ago.  Finally we obtained funding to give this a complete overhaul (thanks to my good colleague, Dr. Leigh Anne Isaac, who is also an adjunct at TRU and a co-supervisor on thesis projects in our lab).  This has served to provide much-needed income to many students in the lab, and I think when the final product is released (in a few weeks) it will be a much more valuable resource for anyone interested in reptiles and amphibians in our province.

Even though it is just mid-January, things are already starting to ramp up for field season 2022.  Time to order transmitters, look for research assistants, and plan out the roadmap for the thesis.  I will try to keep these posts more up-to-date as we continue to move along.  Ciao.


Marcus wins thrice with his rattlesnake photos.

Congrats to Marcus for taking home several awards in the recent TRU research photo competition.  Marcus’ photo of a big male rattler feasting on a red squirrel won best field photo (see below) and the People’s Choice Award.  He also won Best Caption for a second photo two male snakes in combat.  Clearly living with snakes has its virtues.  Read the entire story and see all the other great photos by clicking HERE.  

Giraffe monitoring in Kenya

In June I had the very good fortune to help out a colleague witha giraffe project in Kenya.  Dusti Becker (along with her husband, Tony Povilitis) runs Life Net Nature, which is doing some amazing conservation work around the world. Dusti has been working with the Maasai people of Kenya to develop sustainable eco-tourism and a giraffe monitoring program.  Needless to say, it was an amazing experience for me walking across the savannah, counting giraffes and other large mammals.  I was able to check off four of my personal Big Five (Nile crocodile, black mamba, hyrax, and rhino) – just fell short on the honey badger (next time).   Check out Life Net Nature for this and similar opportunities: http://lifenetnature.org/

What’s new, what’s happening….

Being on sabbatical this winter allowed me to spend more time in Belize, trying to learn more about the elusive Yucatan squirrel.  While walking through an orchard I came across a troop of coatimundis  (known locally as ‘quash’) making a raid; I got this short video of the last one dashing back into the jungle.