Although I have known that I want to pursue a Masters degree right after my Bachelors, I haven’t always been sure on what I want to research. This internship has given me a bit of clarity on where and what I want to study as well as how to carry out a successful research project. I have decided that studying large mammals is definitely what I want to pursue, but I am interested in mutualistic relationships, disease ecology, and assisted migration. This internship has also made me realize that I want to stay in the United States to do my research. Although I loved seeing large carnivores everyday, I have realized that there is still a lot that needs to be studied in the United States and that a country can have huge advances in conservation if enough studies provide new solutions to persisting environmental issues.
South Africa has proven to me that conservation is possible, but only with plenty of hours of hard work, a goal oriented management team, and a government willing to try new things.