I have begun my three month travels at the Naankuse Sanctuary just outside of Windhoek, Namibia. The Sanctuary is working to conserve and monitor Namibia’s native carnivores and other wildlife. So far I have spent about a week and half at the Sanctuary where I was among over 70 other volunteers. We were split into groups that rotate tasks each day, these can include anything from feeding captive cheetah to cleaning up elephant poop.
The work and the organization of the Sanctuary was a bit of a surprise to me at first and I ended up having to pay extra to spend time at the two main research sites so that I could complete my individual project through PitE. I can say that I am a little disappointed with the information provided to me before booking, but this has still been a great experience so far.
I am now at Kanaan, one of the Naankuse research sites, for one week and I have been successful in creating an agreement to get the data I need for my research project. The rest of this week will be spent out in the desert monitoring camera traps, hiking the sand dunes, and much more.
After having been in South Africa at Phinda Private Game Reserve for only a week, I have already seen all of the big five! I am super excited and surprised by how much we see everyday and I am awed by the amounts of data that are collected on all species and habitats here. I have already aided in collected location data on white and black rhino, attended a management meeting on proscribed burning, and organized the lion genetics map due to the introduction of two new males and the birth of six cubs.
I am very excited to continue this hands on work and next week I will be aiding in the dehorning of a white and a black rhino as well as putting a new satellite collar on an elephant matriarch! So far everything has been great here and I am in love with the dedication and knowledge of the conservation managers here.