Dr. Gianluca Zaffarano spent one-month with Conservation Global in February 2016 researching the prevalence of parasites in wild ruminants. This research evaluated mugshot, sex, skeletal development, nutritional status through evaluation of BCS (body condition score), sensory status, attitudes and particular signs, skin and subcutaneous connective tissue, respiratory activity and major organ functions as well as the digital diagnosis of parasites in feces. For instance, we appreciated symptoms remotely seen like coughing, nasal discharge, diarrhea and lameness. Always with the support of Rangers we defined the hierarchical status of the considered head. The qualitative and quantitative coprological examinations helped us to identify the presence of noxious parasites responsible for the alterations of previously identified or interference with the or health and / or hierarchical situation. A large number of data recovered was evaluated through statistical evaluations. The choice of animal species for this survey was left to the park managers who may be interested for management purposes.
My week spent on Gondwana Game Reserve with Conservation Global was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was fortunate enough to travel to South Africa with Franklin University Switzerland on academic travel in the spring of 2015. Bonding with the staff and learning about the animals in their natural environment made for one incredible week. Each day was filled with activities and lectures that were as entertaining as they were educational. As a group we had a lecture in the morning either from a member of the knowledge staff or from a local expert. We learned about native bee populations and were treated to honey samples from the region and were given a demonstration on the practice of tagging and tracking animals on the reserve. Perhaps the most memorable was when we were taught how to properly handle a tranquilizer gun and had a competition to see who could get a bullseye! After the morning lecture, the group would split up for the safari in which the staff took great care to make sure we saw as many animals as possible. Later in the afternoon we would regroup for a drink and to admire the scenery. I have the utmost respect for Conservation Global and the work they are doing—hoping to return to South Africa soon!
Conservation Global organized a dually educational and adventurous experience across South Africa. As a student I was able to learn more about apartheid and its effects on the nation from prominent political leaders. Also, I was able to better understand the needs and efforts of conservationists across the area to protect some of the worlds most endangered animals. From finding dolphins in the Indian Ocean, cage diving with great whites, and spotting lions on the game reserve, this experience reestablished the necessity in myself to protect our wild lands across the globe. If we do not protect them, who will?