South Africa harbours a tremendous tortoise diversity. Many South African tortoise populations are declining, but their ecologies are insufficiently known to take sound conservation measures. The Homopus Research Foundation conducts field studies to generate baseline ecological data.
One of the poorest known South African tortoises is the Karoo dwarf tortoise (Chersobius [previously Homopus] boulengeri). This species is the focus of a field study in 2018-2020. Study aspects include activity, behaviour, thermoregulation, diet, growth, reproduction and population dynamics. The study population inhabits a remote hot, arid, fragile, yet biologically diverse and attractive environment.
All field studies of the Homopus Research Foundation are conducted by volunteers. The field study on the Karoo dwarf tortoise offers opportunities for 1 volunteer to collaborate as a Research Assistant from 30 September until 16 October 2018, and for 2 volunteers to collaborate as Research Assistants from 15 October until 10 November 2018. Research Assistants fully involve in all research activities (e.g., surveying, telemetry, recording, radiography) to make it a worthwhile and educative experience.
Research Assistants need only to pay for their own expenses (including food, drinks, and shared transport and accommodation), totalling approximately $ 800 based on 17 days of fieldwork. This excludes international travel expenses. Because virtually all logistics and accommodation (comfortable, single rooms) is arranged by the Homopus Research Foundation, the field study on the Karoo dwarf tortoise is an accessible and safe way to get to know South Africa and its tortoises.
This study may be of particular interest to zoo staff, (academic and non-academic) biology teachers and students, reptile keepers, and naturalists.
More information is available at the website of the Homopus Research Foundation, http://www.homopus.org (click on Research, and then on Field ecology of Homopus boulengeri).
- Adequate physical shape to conduct fieldwork in rocky terrain under hot and dry conditions.
- Perseverance to deal with difficult-to-find tortoises and monotonous research procedures.
- Prepared to follow a work schedule that is dictated by the presence and activity of the tortoises (e.g., continuing during weekends and working long workdays).
- Able to communicate in English.
- Minimum age 18 years.
Enquiries and letters of interest may be sent to Victor Loehr, firstname.lastname@example.org.