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Fundraising for Expedition Costs
£100 Raised
4% of £2.5k goal
1 contributor
2 Years running
In the summer of 2014, I will (hopefully) be travelling to the Kruger National Park and Sodwana Bay, in South Africa to partake in an environmental conservation research expedition. In order to go, I need to raise £2,500. More ...

Fundraising for Expedition Costs

To raise the £2,500 needed, I will be cycling 500km and asking for as much help as possible to make this dream a reality. Please support by sponsoring my cycling challenge.

I will be accumulating the distance on an exercise bike at my local gym; who will be officiating. My aim is to cycle an hour a day, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks - fitting around my studies.

For this once in a lifetime opportunity I will be taking part in a biodiversity survey as a Research Assistant.

My first week will be based in the Balule Game Reserve, spending half my time in the bush either in a game view vehicle or on foot with armed guards - you will be pleased to hear that I will not be handling a gun! The other half of my time will be spent in camp learning bush skills (safe distances for viewing game, tracks and signs of large mammals, how to use GPS and compass for navigation and how to respond if a large herbivore or predator is encountered!). 

I will spend a lot of time having lectures on savannah ecology (Africa’s biodiversity) - giving me the techniques and knowledge I need to classify and collate data on:

  • Southern African birds
  • Herbivores of Southern Africa (adaptation in rhinos, buffalo, impala, nyala, wildebeest, zebra)
  • Predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyena)
  • Managing elephant populations (social structure, impact on habitat, methods of controlling elephant numbers)
  • African conservation issues (fenced reserves, maintaining balanced herbivore and predator communities, fire management)
  • A conservation synthesis (calculating elephant carrying capacity)

 The objective of the research is to:

  • Quantify the impact of elephants around artificial and natural waterholes
  • Utilise the data to calculate carrying capacity of park reserves for elephants
  • Assist with data collection on the distribution of large herbivores and predators
  • Complete annual surveys of winter bird community structure and density in areas of habitat with differing levels of elephant impact

My second week will be spent in Sodwana Bay in Kwa Zulu Natal completing an Indian Ocean reef ecology course consisting of lectures and in water practicals, either by diving or snorkelling. 

The lectures and dives in Sodwana Bay cover:

  • An introduction to coral reef ecosystem (characteristics of a reef, distribution of reefs in east Africa)
  • Coral and algal species (growth forms and common species)
  • Megafauna (whales, sharks, manta rays)
  • Mangrove and seagrass ecology (importance of connective systems, threats to mangroves)
  • Economically important invertebrates (lobster fishery, aquarium trade)
  • Identification of coral reef fish
  • Reef survey techniques
  • Threats to and conservation of reefs (protected marine areas in South Africa and Mozambique).

If you would like to know more, see these links below for more inoformation:

South Africa 2014 Presentation

South Africa Operation Wallacea 2014 Website

PLEASE support me in any way you can. Best wishes, Ryan.

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