Earthwatch: South Africa - South Africa’s Scavenger Species

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See first-hand what service scavengers such as jackals, hyenas & vultures provide to the cycle of life. Using camera traps to monitor and record wildlife, you may even capture an occasional poacher! Your team will explore protected and unpr... read more

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See first-hand what service scavengers such as jackals, hyenas & vultures provide to the cycle of life. Using camera traps to monitor and record wildlife, you may even capture an occasional poacher!

Your team will explore protected and unprotected lands in search of wildlife, particularly brown hyaenas and other scavengers, species that are critically important to any ecosystem. Depending on the research site, you’ll conduct wildlife surveys on foot for from vehicles, looking not only for the hyaenas, vultures, and insects themselves but also for their tracks, droppings, feeding sites, dens, nests, and other signs. You’ll help capture and tag individual vultures, monitor their colonies and help assess their habitat. You’ll help trap and identify different species of the industrious dung beetle, some of the region’s most beautiful insects, ranging in color from the metallic iridescence that’s earned some of them the name “scarab beetles” to patterns that help them blend into their surroundings to inky black. You’ll also conduct predator population counts at night, playing tape recordings of their prey to attract lions and leopards as you conduct spotlight transects. (Many past volunteers report that this activity is one of the most thrilling field research experiences they’ve had.)

Much of the work will take place within Pilanesberg National Park, which offers dramatic scenery in the remains of an extinct volcano. During your expedition you may also see zebras, impalas, white rhinos, elephants, wildebeest, lions, and leopards. In your recreational time, you may enjoy game drives, sundown drinks on the kopje (rock outcrop), and local cultural events such as drumming sessions.

Program Type(s):
Volunteer
Program Length(s):
  • Custom
  • Short Term
Instruction Language(s):
  • English
Language Requirement(s):
  • English
Relevant Study Subject(s):
  • Ecology, Evolution Biology
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Environmental Studies
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