3 Weeks To Go!

Less Than Three Weeks To Go!

As we arrive at the time of year where we are all stricken by end of term syndrome and the onslaught of Christmas, Field Course participants would do well to remember that within three week’s time we will be far away from all this!

At the beginning of January myself and a group of bioscience students from the University of Exeter will be arriving into Cape Town, to begin a two week field course in one of Africa’s most beautiful corners.  Our journey will take us along South Africa’s Garden Route, so called because of the unusually high biodiversity amongst the idyllic backdrop.  The water is teeming with life, enough to sustain large predators such as Great Whites, which is supported by nutrient rich cold water upwelling from the Southern Ocean, and tempered by the warm Indian Ocean’s Agulhas current.  The latter provides relief rainfall to the coast year-round, allowing a huge variety and density of plants to survive.  Getting to see Great Whites on a boat trip to Dyer’s Island will undoubtedly be a highlight for many of us.

Our course will also take us into the Eastern Cape, where will visit Addo Elephant National Park, the sanctuary of over 600 elephants.  It has been a refuge for elephants and other animals since it’s creation in 1937.  National Parks like Addo and other reserves are imperative for the survival endangered species.  Very little of South Africa is ‘wild’, even compared to Europe; the vast majority of land is owned in some fashion and therefore managed.  It will be interesting to see first hand the efficacy of such conservation actions.

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Young Bull African Elephant (Russell Fleming)

And therein lies the real value of this field course, not just being able to put faces to latin names, but seeing the application of knowledge we have slowly been gaining over the last three years in practice.  Getting to experience the effects of wildlife conservation is priceless in terms of our scientific training.  Getting the chance to study, not just experience, such a unique and beautiful ecosystem is a Zoologist’s dream and I for one can’t wait to be there.

rak208    December 17th, 2016    South Africa

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