The Start of Many Adventures to Come: Gambia and Costa Rica 2012

As my information says, I’m second year BSc Animal Conservation Science student at the Univeristy of Cumbria. For the second year Field Studies module, we get the amazing opportunity to travel to The Gambia, West Africa. We complete research projects and check out the fantastic wildlife there over the 2 week stay.With just a few days to go, after waiting since the beginning of first year, the excitement is building rapidly! Packing is not my favourite part of travelling; more the fear of forgetting something vital than the actual task. As long as I have my camera and binoculars, I don’t have much else to worry about!

I really hope to see Ospreys whilst out there, and also look at monitoring raptors in their natural habitat. I’m interested in all wildlife to be honest, and everything we see will be new and exciting to me; including beautiful Bee-Eaters, butterflies and Green Vervet monkeys! The heat will be pretty stifling to begin with as well, but hopefully I will acclimatise quickly. I’m looking forward to the sunshine, which always gives me lots of energy and enthusiasm! I will have plenty of that anyway, but good weather can only make it even better.

For myself, this will be just the start of a fantastic time to come. I will be travelling to Costa Rica; spending a few weeks at home  after being in The Gambia and then travelling to San Jose. I will be staying and working in Aula Global Reserve, part of the Global Classroom ( with permission from the project founder and leader Colin Garland. I will be carrying out the research I need to complete my dissertation in the third year of my course; living in the rainforest for at least 6 weeks, which I cannot wait for! I had the privilege of travelling to Borneo 4 years ago and spending time in the rainforest there, something I will never forget and something which I look forward to repeating in a new place.

I will be monitoring humming bird, bee and butterfly pollinator activity in the rainforest and making comparisons between the primary and secondary rainforest areas. This, I hope, will begin to look at the success of regenerating rainforest in terms of native species moving back in to the habitat. I will also be setting camera traps to capture some beautiful big cats with any luck! Carnivores are my passion and I hope to catch a glimpse of some whilst in the rainforest, whether on film or by tracking.

I plan on contributing to vital conservation research in both The Gambia and in Costa Rica. This is what I am dedicating my life to, and I intend to start off strong.


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