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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, South Africa

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Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, South Africa
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catrinaaaj



Registered: November 2016
City/Town/Province: Santa Ana
Posts: 2
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In August 2016, I traveled to South Africa for two weeks to conserve endangered white rhinos. After a lengthy application process, the Kenneth A Picerne Foundation sponsored 10 students, including myself to study the effects of dehorning white rhinos at the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa.
On this expedition, I was able to work as a scientific field researcher. While conducting research, I learned how to read rhino behavior through observations. We recorded, every 2 minutes for at least an hour, the rhino’s head position, state, ear activity, and habitat and if it was a calf, we recorded its distance from the mother. I also learned how to collect faecal samples and identify the types of termites and beetles inhabiting the dung and test for levels of cortisol, how to locate rubbing posts and middens on transect walks, and use equipment such as range finders and satellite GPS’s. Not only did we conduct research, but we also participated in anti-poaching patrols and practiced sustainability.
To be able to surely compare the effects of dehorning the rhino, we also observed white rhinos in Pilanesberg National Park. We used the same process of observations we used with the rhinos at Mankwe; head position, ear activity, distance from mother, and so on. After 11 hours of observations over 9 days, we input the results into a computer and were able to see the difference between the rhinos with horns and the rhinos without horns. Without their horns, rhino tend to become more aware of their surroundings and are scanning for danger more often. A presentation was put together that displayed our data so that my group and I were able to visually see our work and contribution to the research.
After this experience, I now know what it takes to keep one species from going extinct and how to broadcast the importance of ending rhino poaching (from teaching a local school environmental group in Mogwase). These skills are ones that many applicants have yet to learn and because of this, I believe this expeirence sets me apart from other students.
Date: November 10, 2016 Views: 3833 File size: 11.4kb, 2886.1kb : 3456 x 2304
Hours Volunteered: 1120
Volunteers: 10
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 16-17
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 500
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