- Gepubliceerd: 20 november 2018
Volunteer Research Assistant: Dwarf tortoises in South Africa
South Africa harbours a tremendous tortoise diversity. Many South African tortoise populations are declining, but their ecologies are insufficiently known to take sound conservation measures. Dwarf Tortoise Conservation (previously Homopus Research Foundation) conducts field studies to generate baseline ecological data.
In February-March 2018, Dwarf Tortoise Conservation started the first-ever field study on the Karoo dwarf tortoise (Chersobius boulengeri), one of the rarest South African tortoises. A second sampling period took place in October-November 2018. We were able to locate more than 50 individuals. In February-March 2019, we will conduct follow-up fieldwork. The main objective for this period is to capture and recapture as many individuals as possible, to enable the construction of a quantitative population model. We will also measure all individuals to monitor their growth and body condition. When time permits, the diet of the Karoo dwarf tortoise will be studied as well.
Dwarf Tortoise Conservation offers a unique opportunity for international volunteers to engage in scientific tortoise field studies. For the February-March 2019 sampling period, we are composing a team consisting of 4-5 persons. We have broken up the 6-week sampling period in smaller portions, to enable participation of volunteers who might be unable to attend 6 weeks:
- 11 until 25 February 2019
- 25 February until 5 March 2019
- 6 until 21 March 2019
- Or any combination of February-March 2019 periods
Volunteer Research Assistants need only to pay for their own expenses (e.g., food, drinks, shared transport and accommodation), totalling approximately € 25-30 per day. This excludes international travel expenses. Because virtually all logistics and accommodation (comfortable, single rooms) is arranged by Dwarf Tortoise Conservation, the field study on the Karoo dwarf tortoise is an accessible and safe way to get to know South Africa and its tortoises.
This study may be of particular interest to reptile keepers, zoo staff, (academic and non-academic) biology teachers and students, and naturalists.
- Adequate physical shape to conduct fieldwork in rocky terrain under hot and dry conditions.
- Prepared to follow an intensive work schedule that is dictated by the activity of the tortoises.
- Able to communicate in English.
- Minimum age 18 years.