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David Guthrie

Meet David, our highly experienced group leader & senior researcher on the elephant project from Saadani National Park.

David works with renowned Tanzanian elephant expert Dr Alfred Kitoki on the Saadani National Park Elephant Project.

Last July saw the start of David and Alfred's work collaring elephants in Saadani and the continual monitoring of the elephant movements. This year the team will collar a further three elephants. 

Join our special departure on Tanzania Revealed tour, the 3rd of August 2011 with David Guthrie, and share his passion about Tanzanian culture, environment and conservation.

Be right there with the Saadani elephant research team and get first hand experience of the conservation work being done for the elephants during your stay in Saadani.

So who is David Guthrie?

Find out more about our leader and researcher at heart below:

What brought you to the Southern part of Tanzania?

Selous Game Reserve looked like the most wonderful wildlife conservancy on the planet and it probably is.

How did you get involved into the elephant project from Saadani National Park?

We knew there were large herds of elephants living near the coast and the potential devastating effect they had on coconut farmers so I decided to contact TANAPA and ask them if we could study the elephants and study the elephant human conflict issues. TANAPA connected us up with Dr Alfred Kikoti who had long been running a project into elephant migrations in the North of the country and hence we started together with my focus on the behaviour of the Saadani elephants particularly in relation to the human communities around and Alfred’s focus on the migratory routes they would take out of the park in the wet season.

What was the funiest thing that ever happened to you on tour?

I was out in Selous with a group and two vehicles.  The then manager of Sable Mountain, (who is now a senior lion researcher in the Serengeti) was driving the second car.  We’d seen nothing all morning and had stopped for lunch near a lake.  After lunch her car wouldn’t start and we were a long way off road so I decided to use my car to push hers to the road side so that the mechanic I had radioed would find her easily.  After pushing her car for some minutes, I saw the perfect tree for shade for the clients close to the nearest road.  As we got closer it became apparent that there was something beneath the tree, in fact twelve somethings all with huge teeth.  The clients in the first car weren’t sure whether to cry with joy or fear as I pushed them, oblivious, straight into the pride of lions.  Luckily the potentially ferocious cats couldn’t believe their eyes and quickly disappeared from under the tree.    

What is the most interesting custom in your country?

The most endearing custom has to be the endless greeting.  You can be fluent in Swahili but never fluent in all of the different greetings and variations. Whether you face a life and death situation with 1 minute of airtime on your phone to explain the emergency to the person on the other end you must spend at least the first 55 seconds on greetings. 

What is your top tip for this trip?

Bring good binoculars, at least a 210mm lens if you want to take animal photos and don’t be in a hurry.

What is your life moto?

One world for everyone.

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David & research team collaring an elephant
David & research team collaring an elephant
Elephant family, Saadani NP
Big male adult elephant