My name is Nadine and I’m a Dutch Biology student who decided to join the Wildlife ACT team in the Chobe Enclave, Botswana. As a student of biology I have learned a lot on the theoretical side of biology. However, I did not have much exposure to applicable field experience. During my time with Wildlife ACT that all changed. I have not only learned a lot about working in the bush, but I have had the most amazing time and unforgettable experiences too.
During one of my first days at the Chobe Enclave project we spotted a number of vultures and birds of prey on one of our spoor transects. While investigating the situation we spotted a leopard in an Acacia tree, with his recent impala kill on the ground beneath the tree. I had never seen a leopard in my life and to finally see one was a dream come true.
Another wonderful Chobe experience that I will never forget was when we were relaxing next to the river during the heat of the day . We’d just had lunch and as we were sitting down to relax, a herd of elephants went to the water right in front of us. It was so much fun to see them drinking, swimming and playing in the water. I had so many more amazing experiences while out in the field. I guess it goes to show that you can never predict what you will see or find round the next corner.
During some time away from the project we also managed to fit in a few amazing trips. I went to Victoria falls, did a trip through Chobe National Park, went on a boat trip into the Okavango Delta and even went on a game walk through the bush. The walk was really great, as it provided a very different experience. I was able to look at everything with a new perspective, as you feel that you are apart of the bush.
Even though I learned so much during our fieldwork in Chobe, I think I learned even more through the community side of the project. Through the interviews I saw another side of Botswana that not many people will witness. It is very special to be able to be this involved and to understand the whole problem of Human Wildlife Conflict.
To me this really is conservation, working with the people and the wildlife to find a way in which both can live together.
Post and photographs by Nadine van Wijngaarden