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Life changing experience at the University of Oxford

From arriving here five months ago, being introduced to all the wonderful people at WildCRU (great bunch of dedicated people) getting stung by nettles (in a touch rugby match), catching chicken pox (which was thought to be swine flu), and going on with the studies, studying at the University of Oxford has been a great experience. I find this place fascinating and rich of history. The landscapes and meadows look like they were painted by one talented landscape artist. I was shocked to learn that a 200 year old building is considered young around here. Come to think of it, this makes my country almost an infant as we slowly write our own history. I hope it will go on and in a thousand years down the line people, wildlife and wild lands will stay intact and continue sculpting the history.

Studies have been good so far and are going from strength to strength. Also getting opportunities to meet some of the leading figures in conservation is inspiring indeed. As our biodiversity is faced with possibilities of mass extinctions, the onus is on each and every one to make a change. As such we cover a whole range of subjects ranging from proper research planning to carrying out the research and eventually coming up with solutions that would be beneficial to both man and beast. Ideally after the solutions are found, monitoring is required to continue for as long as possible. For example, I was inspired upon my arrival at WildCRU when someone said in passing: “Badger work at Wytham has been running for over 30 years”.

[caption id="attachment_1467" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Our badger work at Wytham has been running for over 30 years"]Our badger work at Wytham has been running for over 30 years[/caption]

I miss the bush back home and will head there in two months time. Nnzumbeni is doing a wonderful job. Our pilot study is approaching an end and we are now preparing to take on the mighty Kruger National Park. The complete survey establishing the baseline data in terms of leopard numbers will take up to six months, so it is going to be punishing; hopefully we will have a few volunteers who will keep us focussed on accomplishing the task ahead. I am looking forward to that.

Thank you for all the continued support.

About the Author

Nakedi joined AWF in 2007, working in the Limpopo region, where he's from. Nakedi's initial work was focused on studying the great cats to shape conservation strategies to benefit communities he's known all his life. In 2014, Nakedi moved on from the Limpopo region, becoming AWF’s Congo landscape ecologist.

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AWF Blogs bring you to the critical landscapes we work in, where conservation benefits both wildlife and people alike. The blogs are written by our staff - men and women who have dedicated their lives to Africa's wildlife, people and wild lands.