Wildlife Ambassadors: Primatology and Conservation Courses
Course: Primatology and Conservation III
This course offers two weeks of training as a Field Assistant in Wildlife Ambassadors’ Samango Monkey Conservation Project in Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve. The purpose of this project is to estimate the samango population size and determine whether these monkeys are threatened by human activities in the reserve. Because of the high level of human disturbance in a particular area of the reserve, we cannot endanger the monkeys by habituating them to human observers. Therefore, participants will be expected to minimize noise and disturbance in the forest. By getting involved in this research, students will make a real contribution to the protection of samango monkeys in Lekgalameetse.
What You'll Study:
Students will learn a variety of field techniques, including the following:
Ecological techniques: using a compass; measuring and marking trails; estimating distance; navigating with GPS units; ground-truthing satellite images.
Primatological techniques: practicing non-threatening behavior in the presence of wild animals; finding monkeys in the forest; recognizing different types of vocalizations made by samango monkeys; obtaining group size and group spread estimates; distinguishing among different social (family) groups.
Data collection methods: auditory census; line transect census.
Plant identification: using a botanical key to identify samango monkey food plants.
Course format: Class meetings and hands-on demonstrations in the field for 2 weeks.
Cost: $700 for two weeks (includes transportation to the site and meals).
Prerequisites: Individuals must be signed up to volunteer with C.A.R.E. for a minimum of two weeks (this is an additional two week commitment). Students must be able to walk 10-15 km per day in forested terrain with uneven, rocky surfaces and thick undergrowth, and be able to handle primitive camping conditions (sleeping in tents, bucket or river bathing, pit latrine, no cell phone or wi-fi signals).
What to bring (mandatory): In addition to your usual volunteering items, those participating on the Course II must bring the following items: sleeping bag, sturdy high-top hiking shoes, binoculars, daypack, water bottle, flashlight (torch), personal prescription medications and, if applicable, a list of known allergies and special medical conditions.
Course requirements: attendance at all class meetings and field sessions; completion of a field practical exam and a written exam. Primatology and Conservation III students will receive a certificate upon successful completion of course requirements.
Offered to: This is an additional two weeks Field Assistant training to any able volunteer who is volunteering at C.A.R.E. for a minimum of two weeks; (this is an additional two week commitment) with a demonstrated interest and commitment to primate conservation, by permission of the instructor. By prior arrangement with C.A.R.E.’s volunteer coordinator (Hannah Young; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Class size: minimum of 2, maximum of 6 students per session.
How to Apply: email Hannah@primatecare.org.za with your application form
Course Instructor: Carolyn Bocian, Ph.D. is a primatologist, biologist and educator. Her background includes 11 years as an animal caretaker in zoos and sanctuaries; 5 years as a field researcher in central, western and southern Africa; and 7 years as a professor of biology and environmental science. She is a member of the IUCN-Species Survival Commission’s Primate Specialist Group and the International Primate Protection League. Dr. Bocian and
Course Facilitator Linda Barnes are co-founders and co-directors of Rainbow Eco-Farm and Training Center (REFTC), an educational nonprofit based near Johannesburg. REFTC’s mission is twofold: to break the spirit of poverty in South Africa by empowering underprivileged teens and young adults through education and training; and to inspire compassionate caretaking of the land and the animals. The Wildlife Ambassadors program is an outgrowth of this mission.
* Photos courtesy of Steve Mead, Dr. Carolyn Bocian, Hannah Young, Samantha Dewhirst, C.A.R.E.