During a recent trip to Kenya, a group of Marymount University students learned firsthand about animal trauma, poaching, and how rewarding it can be to put their compassion into action. The students studied chimpanzee behavior, visited a refuge for orphaned elephants and saved a wild zebra caught in an illegal snare.
The six-credit program, taught by Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman and her husband, Dr. Justin Goodman, also included a month of classes at Marymount’s campus and field experiences in Washington, D.C.
Lopresti-Goodman taught Abnormal Primate Psychology, which focused on the trauma experienced by chimpanzees orphaned by the bushmeat trade. Students interviewed caregivers and observed the primates to learn about their individual histories and treatments.
Lorine Margeson, a sophomore from Clifton, was so taken with one chimpanzee, Poco, that she “adopted” him and will give funds to provide him with food and care.
During a patrol near Lake Naivasha with members of Africa Network for Animal Welfare and the Kenya Wildlife Service, the group found and removed 58 illegal wire snares that were set to trap animals. Snared animals typically die from starvation and dehydration or poachers return to kill them. Each wire can be reused to kill up to 100 animals.
On their way back, the students discovered a limping zebra with a snare on two legs. The next day the zebra was treated by the veterinarian, who said she had a 99 percent chance of surviving.