Research house
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About us

The Ngorongoro Hyena Project is a long-term research project of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany. It was initiated in April 1996 by Dr. Oliver Höner, Dr. Bettina Wachter, Prof. Dr. Heribert Hofer and Dr. Marion East. Our research is done in close collaboration with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and various international research teams.

The team

Oliver HönerOliver Höner: Project co-founder and scientific head, member of the IUCN Hyena Specialist Group, and IUCN Red List authority for spotted hyenas. Belongs to both the Swiss and the Brazilian tribe.
Philemon NamanPhilemon Naman: Assists the project since 2015. Collects demographic data and samples and takes care of our equipment. Belongs to the Iraqw tribe.
Eve DavidianEve Davidian: Joined the hyena team in 2010. Studies dispersal behaviour and the interplay between the social environment, stress and reproductive tactics in hyena males. Belongs to both the French and the US American tribe.
09_05_About us-Arjun DheerArjun Dheer: Joined the hyena team in 2017. Studies hyena adaptability to anthropogenic change and human-carnivore conflict for his PhD. Member of the IUCN Hyena Specialist Group. Belongs to the US American tribe.
09_05_About us-Alexandre Courtiol_redAlexandre Courtiol: Head data scientist. Works with the hyena team since 2013 on various topics, including sexual selection, mate choice, sexual conflict – from a safe distance (6536.9 km) and sheltered by his computer screen and keyboard. Belongs to the French tribe.
Liam Bailey_aliasLiam Bailey: Joined the project in 2018 as a data science underling. Currently studying demographic changes in growing hyena clans. Hails from the Australian tribe.
Colin VullioudColin Vullioud: Joined in 2016. Lives a toned-down version of the hyenas’ social system in the office; hunts for codes; seeks social support when creating plots, and respects queuing conventions at the coffee machine… Belongs to the Swiss tribe.
Bettina WachterBettina Wachter: Project co-founder, scientific head of the Cheetah Project in Namibia, and member of the IUCN Hyena Specialist Group. Belongs to both the Swiss and the German tribe.
Dagmar Thierer and Stephan KarlDagmar Thierer and Stephan Karl: Support the Hyena Project from our base in Berlin by performing paternity analyses in the lab and helping with the administrative load. Belong to the German tribe.
Tegela Karya and Loltogom OltumoTegela Karya and Loltogom Oltumo: Joined the project in 2007. Guard the research cabin, assist in taking care of the equipment, and help communicating and setting up collaborations with rangers and Maasai from nearby villages. Belong to the Maasai tribe.

Former team members (in alphabetical order)

Malvina Andris, technical assistant, Nelly Boyer, technical assistant, Nicole Burgener, technical assistant, Noon Bushra Eltahir, student helper, Anne Hertel, scientific helper, Lekoko Kimaay, assistant, Berit Kostka, technical assistant, Michelle Lindson, technical assistant, Angelika Mai, technical assistant, Tapwaa Ndooto, assistant, Sylvia Schulz van Endert, scientific helper, Melanie Szameitat, scientific helper, Kerstin Wilhelm, technical assistant.


The research station

Our research station is located on the Eastern rim of the Crater. It was built by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) close to a rangers camp and is situated close to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge; the nearest Maasai village is about 5 km away. Equipment and food can be bought a one-hour drive away in Karatu.

The station is run with solar power and equipped with computers, printers, scanners etc.; access to the internet comes via a satellite dish. One room is dedicated to sample processing and storage, and is equipped with a centrifuge, a liquid nitrogen container and equipment to perform dissections.


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