Thursday, January 22, 2009

“Global Change and the Future of African Wildlife" with Wayne Getz

with Professor Wayne Getz of UC-Berkeley
(January 21, 2009) in the TL Performance Theater

Professor Getz discussed the impact of global change on the ecology of wildlife in Africa. He showed a short film on zebra collaring in Africa. Graduate student Andy Lyons spoke about field work in Zambia and the inter-relation between human and animal populations in that African nation.

Professor Getz received his BS in Applied Mathematics and his Ph.D. in Modeling and Control of Birth and Death Processes from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. His specialty is Quantitative Population Biology and his research interests include a broad range of theoretical and applied questions in population and biology with application to epidemiology and conservation biology. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC-Berkeley's College of Natural Resources. At this time projects in his laboratory include: (i) Ecology of anthrax and parasitic co-infections in the plain’s herbivores of Etosha National Park, Namibia., (ii) Bovine TB in wild animals, livestock, and humans in southern Africa., (iii) Movement Ecology: exploring the causes, patterns, mechanisms and consequences of organism movements with particular application to buffalo and elephants., and (iv) Merging dynamical systems modeling and analysis at different levels of biological organization.


Kaushik said...

I think this one was really interesting. I learned about the different types of items poachers go for. Also, I learned that some species in the African wildlife may go extinct later on. The process of checking an animal seemed harmful to the animal, but it was good for them. The ultimate the question, I think, is: should we humans as a species help out other species or focus on ourselves and not care for the other species?

Raji said...

This seminar was not a great one, to be perfectly honest. I came that evening expecting something spectacularly interesting, but I was less than pleased with the outcome. African wildlife and how it is effected is an undeniably interesting topic, but the presentation failed to do the matter it's deserved justice. I must admit that I was intrigued and impressed by the amount of work and research that goes into field of study - but I still found myself wondering, "Why, instead of making efforts to cure the diseases affecting these animals, do they simply collect data?" When I asked this question, I received a lengthy, though unsatisfying response... the question-and-answer segment of the presentation could have been more... quenching, for lack of a better term.

Going off of Kaushik's question - I must say that if we humans go to such great lengths of research to help endangered animals, then doesn't it only make sense for us to help those domestic animals that are more within our reach? That is to say, wouldn't supporting the meat and cattle industry only defeat the purpose of our mission to "conserve wildlife?"

Just some food for thought.