Students and Wildlife ACT
Students and researchers make up an integral part of our projects. Students from all over the world have come to join us on reserves in Southern Africa, and have made contributions on many levels. Some students chose to spend a gap year assisting on projects whereas some students join to gain valuable field research experience or to complete undergrad dissertation papers. Some advanced students have even joined us to collect data for Masters and PhD degrees.
Students in Botswana
We have an exciting option for student participation in the Okavango region of Botswana where we are partnering with the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Botswana. We will be assisting community wildlife concessions and private concessions with the implementation of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ (DWNP) new wildlife monitoring protocol. There have been noted declines in the herbivore populations in Botswana and the DWNP have implemented this protocol to better understand what is driving the declines in such a dynamic ecosystem as the Okvango Delta and surrounding areas of Ngamiland.
Our initial role in each of the concessions will be the implementation of the 14 activities included in the monitoring protocol which includes both fulfilling it ourselves as well as training community members and guides within the requires of the protocol. Once this is running smoothy we aim to be able to add onto the protocol and include other essential surveys of both the environment and the wildlife that occupy it.
Students in South Africa
Wildlife ACT conducts intensive endangered species monitoring work in Zululand, South Africa. This requires us and student volunteers to go out into the reserve every day and find these animals using either VHF tracking equipment (which you will be given instruction on how to operate) or conventional spoor tracking techniques. We also develop photo and illustrated identikits of all the species we help monitor. Before you design a project based on our work in South Africa, it is best that you first understand the work which we do and within that the scope of data we have available for analysis and the environment within which you can collect additional data.
Undergrad Student Projects – Botswana & South Africa
From a student perspective the field of monitoring offers a bounty of opportunities for data collection, whether it be from as simple as recording a location and noting the surrounding habitat through to dung collection and DNA analyses. Wildlife ACT would be able to assist you in developing a research project and application to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Students and researchers could ask for access to previous information collected before they arrived, so as to enhance their data set and projects. The depth of this can be discussed and formulated by the students with Wildlife ACT’s lead researcher, Dr. Simon Morgan, to ensure meaningful wildlife conservation projects are developed.
Experiential Learning Modules – Botswana
As part of many course requirements students often need to perform a practical experiential learning module in the field. We offer the perfect environment for this, where you will be able to partake in practical scientific fieldwork while learning conservation techniques and how best to apply them. This will mean working in a unique environment with high wildlife densities collecting data in a number of various ways, including distance sampling surveys, wildlife behavioural observations and point sampling. Wildlife ACT’s lead researcher in Botswana, Dr. Simon Morgan, will be able to communicate with course conveners at your university to establish learning objectives for your experiential learning modules should this be necessary.
This type of experiential learning
- allows you to gain expertise and experience in a particular role or occupation
- allows you to apply academic subject knowledge in a work setting
- develops practical, work-related skills such as project management, decision making and teamwork
- provides opportunities to learn about graduate employment and enhance your employability.