South African academics are playing an important part in the Central Limpopo River Valley elephant research project. Elephants have become an increasing problem along the western border of the Limpopo where they have been destroying vegetation and ring- bassing trees that have grown in the area for centuries.
Sarah-Anne Jeanetta Selier, whose specific research interest is studying elephants in a systems context, is currently working on her doctoral degree investigating the movement patterns and the social and demographic status of the elephant population in the Central Limpopo Valley, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
She has been the resident biologist at Mashatu Game Reserve since July 2007 and is currently running the Ivory Experience in collaboration with the reserve.
"As part of the Ivory Experience I accompany guests on a game drive during which we focus specifically on the many herds of elephants, studying their behaviour and explaining the social structure and other ecological aspects of elephants to the participants. We delve into the research already conducted over the past eight years and future research needed and planned within the area,"Â� she said.
Starting out as a research technician at the Agricultural Research Council in Irene in 1996, she joined Mashatu as an ecologist in 2001, advancing to camps manager in 2006.
She completed her MSc thesis on the social structure, distribution and demographic status of the Central Limpopo River Valley elephant population of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe at the Centre for Wildlife Management, University of Pretoria, in 2007.
Mark Hardon, a student at the Tshwane University of Technology, recently joined the Central Limpopo River Valley elephant research probject as a field assistant. He will be responsible for collecting field data and identifying the herds within the reserve, tracking them and observing their feeding habits.
He wants to complete his BTech and MTech degrees on this subject. Mark has experience in managing captive wild animals as well as wildlife management. He will conduct the ivory drives.
The Department of Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Technology offers career courses on Ecotourism Management, Game Ranch Management and Nature Conservation. Research focus includes a number of programmes within Best Management Practices in the Wildlife Industry.
The courses will supply the industry with competent guides, planners, tour operators, managers and researchers.
Enquiries can be directed to The Department of Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag x680, Pretoria 0001. General enquiries: Henna Joubert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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