Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Volunteer Updates

Week 11 volunteers: Nicola Austin, Paula Amis, Christiane Lehmann, Penny Goff, Paul Foley, Sarita Vyas, Kerry Foley, Laura Noll, Quentin Fetiveau and Kira Voss. 

"My time at Neuras was fantastic! I love the fact that the work done by Matt and Kate with us volunteers actually makes a difference. The best activity was going out into the bush to track Lightning (a GPS collared leopard) and her cub "Storm". With the help of daily GPS coordinates  and a radio receiver, we followed her signal to locate her. This normally ended up with the signal indicating we were right on top of her and yet we never saw her as she would always stealthily move away. Not seeing her is not the end of the world as we were able to find her recent kills to establish what she has been hunting (usually springbok). On one occasion after recent rains we were able to find some amazingly clear tracks from both Lightning and Storm confirming that they are still together. 
                                                    A track or 'spoor' belonging to Lightning.

However, the best tracking experience came when we were investigating another springbok kill site where we actually saw the cub, sitting only 100m away from us! The cub noticed us notice him/her and with a small growl ran over the hill before anyone could get their cameras out. We followed and picked up Lightning's signal down in the valley. We could not see the cub and within minutes the signal vanished. It was amazing and the one year old cub looked in excellent condition. 

I also learned about trapping and collaring carnivores for monitoring of their movements. I loved the fact that Matt and Kate encouraged us all to suggest suitable places for new cage and camera trap  locations with the final decision normally being  a joint effort from everyone. It added to the excitement of doing the daily trap checks as you never knew what would be in there when you arrived.  

I loved every minute of it - Thank you Matt and Kate!!"
Paula Amis - volunteer for a record breaking 5 weeks!

Week 12 volunteers: Millie Tupper, Paula Finnuala Chiobhain, Quentin Fetiveau, Maria Tabacco, Douglass Badder, Igor Rosetti, Arthur Fernandes, Tezz Colombini and Poala Bogoinelli.

 Week 13 volunteers: Paula Amis, Sarita Vyas, Rochelle Vyas and Janet Burton.

"Really great stay! This is my first time visiting Namibia and I can definitely say that i will be returning to Neuras very very soon!  Everyone here made me feel extremely welcome and taught me so much in the week that I was here for. Really don't want to leave but I'll be planning my trip back again soon. Thanks so much to everyone at Neuras, you all do a fantastic job."

Rochelle Vyas

"My experience at Neuras was fantastic! I loved the variety of activities arranged for us. I was especially encouraged to test my endurance in climbing the dunes, walking long distances and setting trap cages which have made me realise I have more potential than I realised! Kate and Matt were a huge reason for making my time here so enjoyable....they were so kind and always willing to go the extra mile to help. THANK YOU! I will return for sure."

Sarita Vyas.

Week 14 volunteers: Alistair White, Claire Pearce, Tim Taylor, Joanne Johnson, John Parnell, Susan Parnell, Harry Andrews, Lisa Greber and Georgina Foley-Brickley.

"Big cats, sand dunes, wine and pizza! What more could you ask for, a great week away in a beautiful oasis. Awesome staff making sure all volunteers and guests have an amazing trip. With sundowners and swimming in a natural pool. Don't miss the opportunity to come and see this amazing landscape and meet great people."

Tim Taylor.

"Wine, wildlife and wonderful company  - what better way to sum up one week at Neuras? The setting is nothing short of idyllic; an oasis in the desert providing stunning views, cool fountains and an incredible array of bird life. The research is endlessly fascinating, from tracking large carnivores to setting and checking camera traps and trap cages. It all feels consistently necessary and engaging. Special mention must be made of of the staff, who are not only expertly knowledgable of the local flora and fauna but are also tirelessly helpful, ensuring a constant stream of information, conversation and excellent food. 

All in all, an excellent concept wonderfully executed.

Harry Andrews.

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