In The Field

Goodbye PE!

It is the last day of the conference, and the sun is shining. It feels like California, but for the amethyst-throated Sunbirds and the skunky reek of buchu. Oh, and the fact that there were two kinds of beef biltong (like jerky) with lunch.

Some people loading a braai (that’s a barbeque) into the back of a truck, coordinating in Afrikaans. From the grass, a student group chats in Xhosa, with its wonderful click sounds. Further off, I think that I hear Spanish.

Here are some of the best one-liners I have collected at the conference.

“Parasitism is the most popular lifestyle on earth”

Kevin Lafferty, United States Geological Survey, talking about the importance of parasites in food webs. In the California salt marsh environment he works on with Andrew Dobson all the tiny parasites added up together would outweigh all the birds added up together.

—“Lions breed like bunnies”

Rob Slotow on one of the problems of managing lions in reserves.

—“Triage is an undeniable consequence of living in a resource-limited world.”

Hugh Possingham on why people need to rationally and mathematically order conservation priorities with money in mind.

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