Ecology and Conservation Management field trip
This is a 3 or 4-night conservation management field Trip. Proclaimed a National Park in 1926, Kruger is nearly 2 million hectares; roughly the size of Wales. From north to south it is 320km, and east to west a mean width of about 65 kilometres. Most of the Park’s western boundary borders onto private areas under conservation and therefore unfenced, allowing the free movement of the game over an even greater area. The eastern boundary is the international border with Mozambique.
The Kruger National Park has an unusually rich faunal community, offering more species of wildlife than what can be found in any other African game sanctuary. It is truly the flagship of the South African National Parks, home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals and we will see exactly how many we can find on this conservation management field Trip
Sighting the "Big Five" has become something of a quest for many people when on safari, and the Kruger has more than its fair share of these, with an estimated 1,500 lion, 12,000 elephants, 2,500 buffalo, 1,000 leopards and 5,000 rhino (black and white). It should certainly not be a pre-requisite of a safari to see these or even a priority, as there are plenty of other fascinating animals and birds in the African bush.
The aims of this conservation management field Trip are:
(i) to identify and observe a wide range of wildlife in its natural habitat with the purpose of studying, through observation and discussion, a range of natural ecological principles and processes.
(ii) To gain an understanding of the threats and challenges facing conservation managers in line with achieving the Parks Mission.
The Parks Mission is to:
- to maintain biodiversity in all its natural indigenous facets and fluxes
- to provide human benefits and build a strong constituency; and
- preserve as far as possible the wilderness qualities and cultural resources associated with the Park
The following days are set aside for game viewing. Game drives provide excellent opportunities for observing and identifying ecological processes and principles as they unfold. This leads to meaningful and memorable discussions. Some of these includes:
- The principles of conservation biology and the importance of maintaining biodiversity.
- The principles of communication within a species and between different species.
- The differing forms of learning seen in animals.
- The advantages and disadvantages of different social structures.
- Behaviour, dominance hierarchies, social conflict and competition and avoidance mechanisms.
- Predator/prey relationships; capture and avoidance mechanisms.
There is no other way of achieving the best out of this module but to do the ‘time’ out in the Park. Therefore these are long days, heading out of camp at first light and often arriving back in camp at sunset after the last activity.
During your stay there is also an opportunity to include a night drive to see some of the nocturnal wildlife and to go out on foot in big game country (see optional extras below).
Accommodation and Logistics
Our base in Kruger is one of the public ‘rest camps’ and our accommodation is permanent tents or bungalows (2 or 4 bed) with communal ablutions. Our catering is done by a private service provider and includes breakfasts and dinners. Lunches are for own account.
On arrival, we will swap our minibuses for ten seater open game viewing safari vehicles. It is best to keep the same groups throughout the duration of the module to enable the facilitators to plan a structured experience that covers, over the full duration, all the aims of the module.
Minimum requirements for a conservation management field Trip
- Itineraries are for a minimum of 10 days on the ground in South Africa
- Groups consist of a minimum of 10 participants
- Groups are accompanied by at least one responsible adult group leader per 10 students
- All participants agree to African Insight’s Code of Conduct
- Proof of travel insurance is supplied before arrival
- For more information on how to set up an African Insight Wildlife Studies Field Trip contact: firstname.lastname@example.org