Direct observation of the behavior of individuals and groups of animals is how many of the pioneers of animal behavior studies (Iain Hamilton-Douglas, George Adamson, Richard Estes, etc.) developed in depth knowedge of particular populations of large social animals.
One of the reasons that we have chosen the spectacular Ndarakwai Ranch to be our base for this first week of our course is that we have the amazingly rare opportunity to walk in the bush. This allows us the ability to observe wildlife without driving around in a noisy, dusty safari vehicle (which is, however, also fun). Yesterday morning we divided the students into two groups of four for animal behavior studies. This afternoon, one group will observe a troop of baboons for two hours and the other will spend two hours observing a group of impala. Tomorrow morning the groups will switch animals and then present their findings to each other, providing some contrast between the AM and PM activities of both populations here.