Two weeks to go!

Good day everyone!

On 31 August I leave my native lands of the UK to embark upon an African adventure in the wilds of Namibia and Zimbabwe.  I will spend the first few days meeting the staff at Cheetah Conservation Fund, and then head to Zimbabwe to start a 6-month placement near Gweru working as a lion researcher.

I will be updating this blog during my placement at the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) in Antelope Park.  Whilst here, I will be studying the behavioural ecology of a pride of captive-born lions, called the Ngamo Pride.  These are a very special group of lions that are part of an on-going rehabilitation and release programme run by ALERT to enable replenishment of wild lion populations throughout Africa.

African lions have exhibited shocking rates of habitat and population decline within the last 100 years, predominantly caused by habitat loss and overkill of lions and their prey.  ALERT aims to increase the viability of certain threatened smaller African lion populations through an augmentation process initiated by the captive breeding of a strong genetic diversity of individuals.  By studying these animals at close range, we can also begin to understand aspects of their behaviour that have been a mystery to us.  This research will shed light on activity budgets, character traits, mane development, hunting success and assessing age of lions using nose pigmentation and spoor size.  Together, this information will add to the overall picture of lion conservation with the hope of creating effective management tools for long-term conservation success.

I hope to include photos, maps, videos and other interesting articles related to carnivore conservation in these blogs.  Please feel free to ask questions, engage in discussion and recommend related articles to me.

If you would like to assist in this project, please check out ALERT's volunteering opportunities.

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