Abby Guthmann (African Mammal Ecology)

Introduction: 

This week’s featured scientist is one of our board members! Abby Guthmann is currently a Ph.D. student with Dr. Craig Packer’s lab in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the College of Biological Sciences. She studies the ecological interactions of large mammal species in East Africa, with a specific focus on how people and their cattle fit into the Kenyan ecosystem. Citizen Science has been an integral part of her lab, and through the website “Zooniverse”, volunteers can help to identify animal species in the images taken by remote camera traps all across Eastern and Southern Africa.

Fun Facts

Did you know…

  • Lions are the only truly social cat! They live in prides made up of a few males, breeding females, and their cubs.
  • Male lions defend their territory from other males, while females do most (but not all) of the hunting. Hunting takes a lot of energy, and to counter this, lions sleep 15-20 hours a day.
  • Lions were once the most widespread mammal on earth (aside from humans) and were found in Asia, Europe, and even some related species in North America! 
  • Lion manes say a lot about male lion health and fitness – females prefer males with thicker, darker manes.
  • Lions are threatened by habitat loss and poaching – they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Species List. 

Check out more images at www.Snapshotsafari.org

Resources: 

Lion Center website (Abby’s research lab) 

Abbey works with the Lion Center team at the University of Minnesota. Her current research focuses on how cattle management strategies may affect ecosystem health and human-wildlife conflict mitigation in conservancies surrounding the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Hear Abbey breakdown her research and fieldwork in the video linked below.

Test your knowledge of African Wildlife with the quizzes below!

Junior Scout

Wildlife Ranger

Safari Master

Extra Challenge

Additionally ,you can make some masks at home and try a fun scavenger hunt. Find the listed pictures on the Snapshot Serengeti website (linked below).

Animal Masks

Snapshot Serengeti

Q&A video