Friday, September 20, 2013

Sometimes the “where” matters.

When scientists write about themselves, others or our profession, the topics are often about the “whats”. What we do, what topics or areas of interest do we have, or what we produce in terms of research. However, sometimes, the “where” is the most important question.

 I recently had the fortune to travel to Tanzania to witness the Great Migration of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores across the Serengeti. It is truly one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world, being the largest land mammal migration on Earth. There are over one-and-a-half million wildebeest, about 200,000 zebra and 500,000 Thomson's gazelle in the herd.

 Millions of wild animals surrounded me and it was not only a visual spectacle but an auditory one as well. As I closed my eyes, I heard thousands upon thousands of baby wildebeest and zebra calling to their mothers and an equal number of mothers returning the call. The sound was almost deafening.

 This experience took me outside of my day-to-day life and myself. I am one of the lucky few that loves their job and truly, I have never worked a day in my life. Nevertheless, to experience the Great Migration, not just see it on television, but to truly be there, was a life affirming and life changing experience.
The most important words I have ever read about this wonderful phenomenon did not come from Science, Nature or for that matter any other respected scientific journal. The words that matter most, were written on an old T-shirt that our driver wore—“The Serengeti Shall Never Die”.

Dr. Gerald Post

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