Monday, 19 September 2011

Volunteer Report: Hollie Saunders

Hi, I’m Hollie Saunders and I’ve spent the past 10 days volunteering at the Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre. The programme allowed me to witness and contribute to the rehabilitation and soft release method of cheetah conservation. In my time at the NCCC I was able to take part in the daily activities such as wild cheetah tracking within the soft release camp and aiding Laura, the current student intern with her research, which in this case was investigating the bush preferences of specific cheetahs. Once their preferred habitat has been identified it can help indicate how ready the cheetahs are for release and then be compared to their preferred habitat after release. Other activities included exploration and placing of camera traps in the surrounding area so that the carnivore population can be established, game drives and nature tours, data entry, and feeding the cheetahs.
There is a relaxed and positive atmosphere which makes the whole experience unique.  Working with Kate and Matt was fantastic as you feel instantly part of the team and on top of that Walter and Simone are gracious enough to allow the use of the guest farm's facilities including the swimming pool, and they make you feel at home straight away.  It has been a great experience living in a fixed tent adding to the feeling of adventure and the great outdoors.  A highlight was definitely the trip to Sossusvlei where we climbed the sand dunes and saw some fantastic views.
The Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre shows the reality of conservation instead of an attempt to domesticate the naturally wild cheetahs and the fact that it is set in such a beautiful place completes the whole experience. Taking part in the programme actually feels like you are contributing something significant to wildlife conservation, therefore I strongly recommend volunteering at the NCCC for anyone interested in conservation.

Hollie Saunders

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