Interested in Studying Zoology in Namibia?
One of the real highlights that UNE can offer its students is an overseas study tour. Following the success of past tours to Botswana and Zambia, we're pleased to advise that Zoology will again be running offering a study tour in sub-Saharan Africa - in 2023 this will be a tour to Namibia. This activity is run as the OSSE300 or OSSE500 level unit for those studying at UNE, with the field component comprising a three week field trip to iconic locations in Namibia.
The unit is coordinated by Prof. Paul McDonald and Assoc. Prof. Deb Bower, who accompany students on the field course and provide teaching support to allow students to reach Unit Learning Outcomes. This trip aims to give students a taste of zoological interactions in a totally new region for those more familiar with Australian animals, providing hands-on training in fieldcraft and applied theory exploring topics such as human-wildlife conflict, conservation considerations and adaptive management actions in a truly amazing part of the world.
The trip will see 16 students complete individual and team-based research projects using equipment such as bioacoustic recorders, camera traps and techniques such as focal animal sampling to collect data used to undertake biodiversity assessment, identifying unmarked individuals, monitor behavioural interactions, and conduct a range of surveys for diverse taxa from reptiles and amphibians through to nocturnal birds. The area is incredibly diverse, so we expect to see as many as two hundred different bird species, as well as a range of reptiles from tortoises through to chameleons and many different frog species. The area is also incredibly diverse in mammalian taxa, with potential species encountered including elephant, giraffe, greater kudu, roan antelope, gemsbok, bushbaby, black rhino, honey badger, aardvark, spotted and brown hyaena and many cats (caracal, cheetah, leopard, lion) and more... Experienced local guides and teaching staff will be on hand to help students learn these techniques, which culminate in each student using class datasets to answer a specific research question that interests them on return to Australia. Full details on the unit learning outcomes can be found here (OSSE300, OSSE500).
The itinerary starts and finishes at Sydney International Airport (24th November to 14th December 2023), and is open to both on-campus and online students, preferably those in the later half of their relevant degree. From Sydney, the tour will visit:
- Okonjima Reserve: 2 nights camping, possible highlights here include leopard, caracal, cheetah, aardvark, painted wolves and, through using radio-tracking, an option to directly monitor pangolin behaviour on foot.
- Waterberg Plateau National Park: 2 nights camping, highlights include visiting a vulture hide to observe feeding behaviour up close, as well as sightings of tsessbe, roan antelope and cape buffalo. The area is also rich with a high diversity of gecko and frog species to search for.
- Etosha National Park: 2 nights camping each across three different campsites (6 nights total), covering a range of habitats and taxa. We will have access to nocturnal waterhole hides to also keep an eye on which animals use the area at night. Potential species here include Damara dik-dik, elephant, honey badger, leopard tortoise, black rhino, sandgrouse, as well as many cat species including lion.
- Ugab River, Damaraland: 2 nights camping, here we will be searching for desert-adapted elephants, meerkats, greater kudu and mountain zebra. We will also be able to see cave paintings and evidence of a long history of human occupancy in the region.
- Cape Cross National Park: 2 nights camping, the focus here will be on a Cape seal colony frequented by black-backed jackals and brown hyaena, as well as Walvis bay, an ecological hotspot for bird diversity (two flamingo species, numerous waterbirds, waders and local specialties such as Damara Tern, see here for past sightings).
- Swakopmund: 2 nights hotel accommodation, this area is famous for its reptile diversity and sand dunes, so we will be searching for Namaqua chameleon, Peringuey adder, the Namibian desert beetle and the endemic Dune Lark.
To get a feel for how these types of tours run and activities undertaken on past trips, see the travel diary from the 2018 Botswana tour here. A gallery of some of the animals seen in previous trips can also be viewed here.
Information session for 2023 tour
An information session outlining details (including costs) will be held on-campus and recorded (link to follow) at noon on March 7 (Collaborative Learning Room 120.1 in W77).
To apply, please first read the ERS Overseas Travel Refund policy, and also the Statement of Student Responsibilities, both of which participants will need to follow.
Then simply fill out the application form found here in full and submit as per instructions by March 31 2023.
Please direct enquiries to Deb or Paul for more information.
For more information, contact Prof. Paul McDonald