A week in the life of an AWCRC volunteer…

One of our current volunteers shares an insight into their time as a Primate and Predator (PPP) volunteer at the AWCRC. Over the space of a week they have the chance to get involved in a variety of projects from assisting PhD students with fieldwork to learning new office based skills. Amongst all of this there is also time to watch the sunset from camp and enjoy a braai with the other students and volunteers in camp. Over to Yola:

On Monday, I went out with Ben (a PhD student) at 5:30 AM because we wanted to go to one of the baboons sleeping sites. We heard the baboons from the main road so we decided to try and follow them but unfortunately we weren’t successful. After that we checked all of the traps which have been set up to trap and then collar baboons for Ben’s PhD project. We wanted to see if the food used as bait was being eaten because that would mean the baboons are getting used to the trap and are not afraid of going inside, which is a good thing for us. The rest of the day was spent just sitting on the road, hoping to see some baboons crossing the road and film them to have an idea of the size of the troop. 

On Tuesday, I went out with Rebecca (another PhD student). We started our day by driving around the known baboon sleeping sites on camp to spot which tree the baboons had slept in so it would be easier for the other volunteers to follow them that day. After that we went on another farm. Here we sat next to the crop field where our goal was to see some crop raiding. For several hours nothing showed up but around midday we saw some individuals on a tree next to the field. We decided to go to that tree and follow their tracks. We discovered that they were probably living on the farm next to that one. 

Wednesday was my office day. I spent the day helping with data entry and camera trap image tagging.

Thursday and Friday I went out again with Ben. We were again looking for his focal baboon troop but we didn’t see them these days, as is the sometimes the way with fieldwork. On Friday evening we had a braai with everyone at camp.

And Saturday I was in the office, doing some camera trap tagging. I was also given an introduction to ARCMap which was quite interesting and a new skill for me. 

Every week is different and in previous weeks, I have also had the opportunity to help collect long term data on the dump-raiding troop of baboons in town. It’s great to be able to get involved in all the different projects going on.

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