Russell came to visit last week and amongst other project equipment he brought us a poo tent!! The definition of a poo tent is as follows:
Poo tent (noun): a canvas tent used to dry poo samples for scientific purposes
At present we have 50 samples of leopard and hyena poo. That’s pretty good considering we only started our collection in June. Here’s a step by step guide to what we’ve been doing with the excrement!
Step 1: A hyena or a leopard comes along a does a big smelly carnivorous/omnivorous poo. Here’s a photo from one of our camera traps of a brown hyena doing a poo!
Step 2: Collect poo in Ziploc bags and label them with the GPS coordinates.
Step 3: Catalogue all the poos on the computer.
Step 4: In the poo tent the poos goes into poo trays where they dry out. Once dried it is returned to its bag ready for sieving.
Step 5: The poo is sieved and the hairs and bones are separated out. They then go back to (…you guessed it) the poo tent to dry. Julia (who is a star) gave me and my new assistant (who is also a star) a master class in how to sieve and clean a leopard poo the other day. It was very informative.
Step 6: You then identify what the animal has eaten from the bones and hair! We haven’t got to this point yet! Stay tuned!