Chalis’s Research at Samara

Molecular and Evolutionary Analysis of Gastrointestinal Nematodes from South African Wildlife

Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Chalis J. Bird, B.Sc. Biology

Principal Investigator: Steven A. Williams, Ph.D: Gates Professor of Biological Sciences, Chair of Department of Biological Sciences, and Director of NIH Filarial Research Reagent Resource Center (Molecular Division)

I am…

View On WordPress

Steph and Lando talking about their time at Samara.

In two months at Samara I have experienced so many amazing things that they are hard to condense down into writing. The reserve is a really special place and I would recommended it to anyone time and again; the dramatic landscape of spectacular mountains rising from scrubland peppered with acacia, the seemingly endless grassland atop Kondoa Plateau, the glorious orange sunsets and the sky covered…

View On WordPress

Volunteer Update

This week we did two brilliant hikes, one up to the top of Aasvoelberg (Vulture Mountain) and one up to the cave paintings. The most famous painting there is of a cheetah that we believe was drawn around 8000 years ago by the Khoisan people that lived here, which proves cheetah are indigenous to this area, leading to Samara’s work to reintroduce them. We also went out early and watched the sun…

View On WordPress

Volunteer Update

This week we got a new telemetry cable which helped us track down the cheetahs much more effectively. We managed to observe Sibella while she was trying to hunt but unfortunately we did not see the kill as she and we both knew she wouldn`t catch anything while we were hovering. Throughout the week, we did the usual mammal surveys, which are done in order to monitor the predator-prey relationship…

View On WordPress

Volunteer Update

This last week we spent most of our time tracking the collared cheetah, Sibella and her two youngsters, Chilli and Pepper.DSC00432
When we first found them we could see they were getting hungry and hadn’t hunted for a few days. Watching them interact together and call each other, as well as getting within 5m of them was incredible.
DSC09940
Each time we tracked them we noted different behavior, from resting to…

View On WordPress

Ella, Alice and Lena share how they feel about their month at Samara

Ella, Alice and Lena share how they feel about their month at Samara

I arrived at Samara four weeks ago and I have loved every minute of it. Since arriving here, I have learnt so much: from the differences between antelope species, to how to use telemetry equipment, and even counting in swiss German! I have enjoyed lots of new experiences that I would not be able to do back home, and my highlight was when I first used the telemetry set to track Sibella the cheetah…

View On WordPress

July volunteer’s update

July volunteer’s update

On Friday morning, we visited the Valley of Desolation and we appreciated the geology from our viewpoint. We had a delicious lunch in Polka, and in the afternoon, we went to Vuyani, a safe haven for children in Graaff-Reinet, and spent time playing with the children. In the evening, we met Rike, a new volunteer.

DSCF7373

On Saturday, we searched for Sibella the cheetah using the telemetry set, and found…

View On WordPress

The Trinity Trio

Two Irishmen and an Englishman took off from London, Dublin and Cork. We met in Amsterdam to catch our onward flight to Johannesburg and on to Port Elizabeth. Our first night in South Africa was probably the roughest of the lot, camping out on the smooth hard floors of OR Tambo International Airport. Despite us being the only ones in the airport for the duration of our layover through the night,…

View On WordPress

A night spend under the stars

A night spend under the stars

IMG_3012

A must do while in the African bush is to spend a night under the stars. This was at least the idea when the volunteers went camping. However, the weather had other plans. Setting up camp, building shelter and getting the fire started in the rain was challenging to say the least. But the volunteer team came together and made it an enjoyable evening. All the volunteers agreed that this was one of…

View On WordPress