SOUTHERN AFRICAN BIRD ATLAS PROJECTS 2 / BIRDLASSER SOUTH AFRICA

SABAP2 is a citizen science project that is driven by the energy of several hundred volunteers who are mapping the distribution of birds across several southern African countries. The project aims to map the distribution and relative abundance of birds in southern Africa.

 

To gather data, volunteers select a geographical ‘pentad’ on a map and record all the bird species seen within a set time frame, in order of species seen. This information is uploaded to the SABAP2 database and is used for research and analysis by several different agencies, including the South African National Biodiversity Institute, BirdLife South Africa, as well as academics and students at various universities.

 

Since 2007, more than 17 million records have been collected with about 2 million more being added each year. This valuable dataset is key to determining the conservation status of bird species, correctly assigning red-list status and establishing, as well as forming the basis for informing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).

 

BirdLasser makes it easy to share your observations with the relevant cause authorities – giving them a better understanding of our birds, their habitat changes and the effect on their well being.

GIRAFFE PROJECT (GIRAFFA CAMELOPARDALIS)

South Africa stands as a key stronghold for giraffe populations within the African continent, with the majority inhabiting private game reserves and game farms. Many of these giraffe exist in relatively small, isolated populations, some of which have been translocated from neighbouring game farms or countries, begging the question whether they can contribute to the overall conservation status of giraffe. It is essential to understand the abundance, distribution, and genetic diversity of the various meta-populations dispersed across the country. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is actively addressing these queries through a comprehensive program that encompasses nationwide DNA sampling, population abundance surveys, and assessments for potential translocations within Southern Africa. The formulation of a National Giraffe Conservation Strategy and Action Plan is a foundational step in shaping and guiding this extensive initiative. At our research sites, we implement a dedicated giraffe research programme, with all collected data shared with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, contributing valuable insights to their dataset concerning privately owned giraffe in South Africa.

 

Our programme includes the development of an identification kit for all giraffe on the reserve and rigorous behavioural observations.

SNARE REMOVAL PROJECT

Snares are the most commonly used method for wildlife poaching in South Africa, where an anchored noose made from wire, rope, or cable is used to capture an animal. Snares are inexpensive and simple to construct. This illegal hunting method is indiscriminate, cruel, and takes a toll on the entire ecosystem. It also impacts heavily on non-target species, including iconic predators such as leopards. At BBRC, every participant gets involved in snare removal efforts, regardless of their chosen project or site. Through systematic and conspicuous patrols, our participants diligently seek out and dismantle these lethal traps, while also conducting litter picks to enhance environmental conservation and safety. This proactive approach not only safeguards local wildlife but also serves as a deterrent against future poaching incidents, while fostering community awareness. Comprehensive data on snare locations and types are meticulously recorded, enabling us to monitor poaching activities and implement adaptive conservation measures

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VERVET MONKEY PROJECT (CHLOROCEBUS PYGERYTHRU)

We focus on dietary patterns and foraging behavior of vervet monkeys. Through systematic field observations, dietary analysis, and behavioral studies, we aim to characterize their nutritional needs, seasonal variations in food preferences, and social dynamics within group feeding. Anticipated outcomes include identifying key dietary components, understanding foraging strategies, and informing conservation efforts to protect vervet monkey habitats. 

HERPETOFOANA PROJECT REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS

This project aims to investigate the microhabitat preferences of herpetofauna, encompassing amphibians and reptiles, to elucidate key habitat variables influencing species distribution. Through systematic field surveys and microhabitat assessments across diverse habitats, this study seeks to identify preferred environmental conditions, potential species interactions, and inform conservation strategies. By analyzing the data collected, including temperature, humidity, vegetation cover, and substrate type, the project aims to provide insights into habitat requirements essential for the conservation and management of herpetofauna populations.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS: STUDENT REVIEWS

During my time at the Research Centre, I have been overwhelmed at both the professionalism of the research team and the abundance of opportunities for growth of conservation skills and project development. Living and operating from the smart research hub as part of a close-knit team of volunteers and permanent research staff has been one of the most rewarding scientific opportunities of my academic life, and I could not recommend it strongly enough to those considering a research residency. Whether you are looking to grow useful practical skills for building an academic career, for example bird identification, mammal transects or community engagement, or seek to partake in rewarding conservation project design and management, this project is ideal for those looking for to engage in meaningful ecological work and expand their horizons.

 

ADAM BACHMANN

England

Jan-Mar 2024

I had the pleasure of working with Chanelle on a separate project when I was volunteering in South Africa Collecting data on isolated giraffe populations. She’s an incredible person who’s so knowledgeable and has a real passion for nature and conservation. I’d recommend her to everyone and I think anyone looking to volunteer and gain experience should look no further than Chanelle and her new project. She’s also as South African as they come so you’ll have a great laugh with her. 

 

RICHARD GERETT

England

Sep-Oct 2022