Crocworld Conservation Centre hosts talk on Kwazulu-Natal’s Biodiverse Coastal Forests

Crocworld Conservation Centre hosts talk on Kwazulu-Natal’s Biodiverse Coastal Forests

Crocworld

Crocworld for Biodiverse Coastal Forests

On August 8th, Crocworld Conservation Centre will host the latest in its ongoing series of monthly environmental talks. The talk will be presented by scientist Yvette Ehlers Smith, and is entitled Wildlife of the Southern Indian Ocean Coastal Forest Belt. A PhD student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Ehlers Smith is in the process of conducting extensive wildlife surveys in the forests of the South Coast as part of her doctoral thesis. Those that attend will be given a fascinating insight into her work, including the methods used to monitor wildlife species, and an idea of the preliminary results that the research has yielded so far.

The forests of the South Coast provide a unique habitat for a wealth of rare and endangered species. By using infrared motion-censored cameras to collect images of these animals in their natural environment, Ehlers Smith hopes to improve our understanding of this incredible ecosystem and in so doing promote its conservation. In her talk, she will introduce the project’s target species – including the vulnerable blue duiker, the endemic samango monkey and the recently reintroduced red duiker. She will talk about the camera-trapping techniques that have allowed her to capture more than 43,000 photographs of the forest’s inhabitants, and touch on the ways in which human activity affects the forest’s wildlife.

Ehlers Smith’s passion for conservation is deep-rooted, and something that she attributes to her wildlife-loving father. Born and raised in Africa, Ehlers Smith moved to England when she was 19, and from there travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. She studied Ecology at Oxford Brookes University, and has a Masters Degree in Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Exeter. During her time abroad, she spent two years in the swamp forests of Indonesia researching Sabangau’s red langur populations, and worked as a field ecologist in the British Midlands. She eventually found herself back in Africa studying avian diversity in the Kruger to Canyons biosphere, and subsequently decided to embark on a PhD in Zoology and Wildlife Conservation through the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The talk on August 8th will begin promptly at 9:00am, and will last for approximately one hour – after which there will be time for questions while tea, coffee and scones are served. Tickets are priced at R70 per adult and R30 for students and pensioners, and include admission into the Centre itself. Guests are invited to stay and explore the Centre’s exhibits after the talk has ended, including several walk-through aviaries, an impressive snake house, and of course, the crocodiles for which the Centre is named. Lunch will be available for purchase at Le Rendez-Vous, an onsite restaurant that boasts spectacular sea views.

Ehlers Smith’s talk promises to be very popular, and as such it is advisable to book your place well in advance. To make your reservation contact: Nolean Allun, Crocworld Conservation Centre on (039) 976 1103/ (078) 484 1859 or e-mail crocworld@cbl.co.za


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