The Soutpansberg Centre For Biodiversity and Conservation is an independent, not-for-profit research and conservation organization based in the Soutpansberg range to the west of Louis Trichard, Limpopo Province, South Africa and we are currently looking for volunteers to assist us with our project.
The Soutpaspansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation was established in 2014 in order to catalogue the biodiversity of understudied animals in the region. The project initially began with a strong herpetological emphasis; soon it became apparent that it would be impossible to limit the study to a single group. Soon amphibians, small mammals, scorpions, Theraphosidae, Odonata and Lepidoptera were added to the focus of the study. The inclusion of the additional groups has not hampered the reptilian data collection as these groups are often encountered while searching for reptiles.
The Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation (SCBC) is an on-going and evolving project that aims to generate information on biodiversity in the Soutpansberg region of northern South Africa. The project’s primary objectives are to find and identify neglected, overlooked and understudied organisms in the Soutpansberg area; generating an inventory of species to assist researchers, conservationists, landowners and interested members of the public in understanding the richness of this ‘biodiversity hotspot’. Presently the SCBC is focused on reptiles, amphibians and scorpions. Searching for these organisms results in a lot of ‘by-catch’ and activities have grown to include: Theraphosidae (baboon spiders) and allies, Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and small mammals.
|Netted Sylph (Metisella willemi)|
|Flat Girlded Lizard (Smaug warreni subsp. depressus)|
The information generated from this project will include species lists, distribution within the region, habitat preferences and also biological notes of observed behaviours. One of the intended outcomes of the project and the collected information is the consolidation of the information into a publication for future research reference as well as for the education of the interested public.
Data is collected through fieldwork as well as accessing existing databases and private collections/lists. Where possible fieldwork will be conducted in understudied regions to the East and north of the Soutpansberg range. The collected information will indicate biodiversity hotspots and highlight areas for the consideration of conservational action.
In order to conserve the biodiversity of the area it is essential to attempt to create an on-going inventory of species.
|View of mountain with Baobab (Adansonia kilima)|
The SCBC is an experimental and independent space for the exchange of ideas, biodiversity research and the practice of conservation. Through approaching conservation from an inclusive rather than exclusive position, our goal in terms of research is to collect information on biodiversity in the Soutpansberg and contribute this knowledge to a greater scientific and conservation community.
We are looking for individuals from all walks of life, specifically those that have a strong link to the natural world and want to be part of a new venture.
Our primary objective in these early stages of development is to begin with research on ecosystems – cataloguing the biodiversity of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, scorpions, Theraphosidae, Odonata and Lepidoptera, and monitoring the larger mammals in the area such as leopards, brown hyeanas, aardvarks and antelope.
Biodiversity research is accomplished by actively searching for organisms, setting pit-fall and funnel traps as well as the use of camera traps. All records and documentation are uploaded to the South African National Biodiversity (SANBI) database, making them accessible to the general public and scientists alike. The SCBC will also engage with other conservationists within the area, sharing research and raising awareness of the project within a broader community.
|Acraea aglaonice |
Activities and Programme
Currently activities at the SCBC are related to searching for and documenting biodiversity. Currently we are collecting data on reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, scorpions, Theraphosidae, Odonata and Lepidoptera.
Typically the programme will see the majority of time spent in the field collecting biodiversity data. Additional time will be spent learning practical skills such as horticulture, living off the grid, basic tracking and survival skills.
The SCBC is envisioned as an open-ended, responsive and collaborative organization. As a volunteer you will be an integral part this organic process – influencing the shape and future of the Centre through the provision of your time, energy, resources and other inputs.
Should you be interested in conducting your own research in the Soutpansberg please get in touch and perhaps the Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation can interface with your research interests.
Accommodation and SCBC Life
We are currently accepting volunteers for our programme. Groups are small and limited to three people. Keeping the groups small allows us to direct our objectives using a bottom-up strategy that empowers participants to steer both the research and the future of the organization. Instead of being just another volunteer, you will become an active conservationist and a builder of our organisation.
Accommodation is comfortable and food is inclusive. Volunteers will be accommodated in the beautiful Stone Cottage or Log Cottage.
|Thicktail Bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus subsp. kirkii), a strange nocturnal primate.|
For more opportunities visit http://www.environmentjobs.com