Student Conservation and Ecology Research Skills Enhanced on Field Trip to South Africa

On 22nd August 2017, students from the School of Life Sciences visited Mankwe wildlife reserve, South Africa, as part of their studies at the University of Lincoln.

During their 1o day stay, students were able to explore the stunning South African landscape whilst carrying out scientific research on the health, behaviour, welfare, conservation and ecology of the wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot.

In the beautiful and fragile ecosystem of Mankwe, students and staff worked alongside a group of  local community-level conservationists. Throughout their trip, students learnt and developed field and identification skills as well as finding out about reserve management and anti-poaching strategies.  In addition, they were able to apply skills and knowledge gained during their degree programme to develop a self-driven research project on an aspect of animal health, behaviour and/or ecology.

Already established at the reserve are a number of long-term research and monitoring projects that include a camera trap network, small mammal monitoring and surveys of scavengers (primarily brown hyenas).

In addition to working hard, students and staff also welcomed the chance to relax in their surroundings of the Waterbuck camp, and enjoyed the food prepared by the staff at the camp whilst discussing the solutions to problems facing the wildlife inhabiting this beautiful area.

Mankwe has 48 species of large mammals, over 300 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 15 species of small mammals and 68 species of dung beetles. Mankwe enables guests to have a true bush experience and gives guests a chance to live amongst the abundant wildlife as all camps are unfenced. Game drives are done in open vehicles and bush walks are conducted on the reserve. Mankwe has 2 camps: Waterbuck Camp is a 33 sleeper camp situated on the banks of Motlobo dam and Nkombi Camp is a 12 sleeper volunteer camp situated in the heart of the reserve. We will be staying at Waterbuck Camp.

Mankwe’s main objective is education and research. They currently facilitate field visits from ten Universities and run seven Earthwatch research teams annually. They work closely with the community to create conservation awareness by establishing Wildlife Clubs in local schools and hosting conservation days on the reserve.

Find out more about the School of Life Sciences Overseas Field Trips.