Research Wilderness Species PopulationFaculty-Led | Ecology & Conservation Zimbabwe
Students will be given exposure to competencies in a broad range of relevant areas including spoor identification, scat analysis, survey design, call-up surveys, camera traps, transects, ‘bioblitz’, data extrapolation, and the use of tools such as CyberTracker.
Why the Zambezi Valley?
The Zambezi Valley is a unique wilderness environment consisting of a string of interlinked national parks which straddle eight countries and are home to the ‘Big 5’. Zimbabwe, in particular, has a significantly under-resourced national parks service resulting in large data gaps and a desperate need for species population analysis. One of the parks in which we work has had no significant research conducted for several years. Parts of the park itself have not been visited by the relevant officials or rangers for well over a decade.
This program will be focused on three of the country’s most significant national parks; Victoria Falls National Park, Hwange National Park, and Chizarira National Park (heavily poached in the recent past and now undergoing rescue). Activities will include travel off the main roads on foot with scouts, conducting species call-ups, animal reintroductions, and darting and collaring operations. Students will use of the full range of survey techniques and report their findings directly to the resident ecologist and other relevant parties.
Not only are we presented with an extremely broad mandate, but we are also able to conduct research that is extremely valuable and has a direct impact on plans to revitalize these strategic parks.
By the end of this program, students should be able to:
- Review the skills required to safely undertake field research in an African wilderness environment. This includes animal behavior, spoor identification, and location-specific survival and navigation skills.
- Demonstrate a working knowledge of the various methods of data collection and survey techniques
- Design a population study for a species relevant to the long-term strategic plan for Chizarira National Park
- Conduct the population study employing the relevant data collection and reporting techniques
- Assess their survey outcomes against other corroborating data and analyze their implications on the wider ecology of the park
Note: Specific learning outcomes and activities can be constructed in collaboration with EDU Africa’s dedicated curriculum development team.
Dr Norman Monks
Norman holds an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, a Certificate in Industrial Environmental Management from Rhodes University, and a Doctorate in Wildlife Management from the University of The Free State. Norman retired after a 37-year career working for Zimbabwe National Parks. This included stints as head warden at Mana Pools and Gonarezhou National Parks, among others. He currently works as CEO of a regional conservation trust.
With an honors degree in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation from Chinhoyi University, Exeverino has been working for Zimbabwe National Parks since 2011. He currently holds the position of Senior Ecologist for Chizarira National Park. Much of Chizarira is seldom visited and it is widely believed that the park is likely home to several undiscovered plant, insect, and possibly amphibian species. His particular research interests in the area include Wildlife Monitoring and Evaluation Techniques, Spatial Modelling, Fire Ecology, Wildlife Population Dynamics, and Plant Ecology.
Matt completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch before obtaining his Masters in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town. He currently works as a full-time field researcher in Chizarira National Park. His focus is on an in-depth study of the lion population within the park. The neighboring area has recently experienced significant livestock predation by lions. Several lions have been darted and collared. These are being tracked and countermeasures against this predation are being sought.
Angela holds an MSC in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town. She currently works as a full-time field researcher in the Victoria Falls National Park. Her work currently focuses on hyena and giraffe populations. She regularly engages with human-wildlife conflict-related issues and is actively involved with surrounding communities and education programs in local schools.
Customize your program
Our friendly and experienced team will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves on our ability to create unique, sustainable, and truly African transformative learning journeys.
Meaning “the place of eating,” Boma appeals to the senses with a variety of local dishes including game meat such as kudu, warthog, and ostrich. Guests are welcome to take part in traditional drumming and dancing. They even have the opportunity to eat a local delicacy – mopane worms!
Enjoy a cultural evening with Zimbabwean musicians, after which the local craftsmen will be available to teach you how to craft beautiful pieces of jewelry and sculptures. This cultural immersion experience will not only teach you new skills but give you insight into the cultures and traditions of the people of Zimbabwe.
High Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel
Visit the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, renowned for its colonial-era architecture. This five-star hotel is only a ten-minute walk from the falls and was built in 1904 as a key part of the “Cape to Cairo” railroad dream. Today, enjoying a high tea on the terrace gives you insight into what life was like over a hundred years ago as you gaze at the Victoria Falls Bridge with mist rising from the thundering waterfall.
These ferocious, predatory fish lurk throughout much of the Zambezi, catching prey with their enormous jaws and needle-like teeth. Add a tiger fish to your repertoire during your sports fishing adventure on the Zambezi.
Flight of Angels
Hover through the pounding mist of Victoria Falls as you explore the stunning landscape from the air. A specially designed helicopter, providing panoramic visibility to every passenger, takes you high into the sky to be truly encompassed by the mesmerizing grandeur of the falls.
Known as the “smoke that thunders,” Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The waterfall system is the largest on Earth, about 1.7 kilometers wide and 108 meters high. Enjoy being awestruck by the sheer magnificence of the falls.