I started out in conservation in Mauritius as a field-researcher on the endangered Pink Pigeon project run by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. As a reward for my hard work in the forest, I was sent to Round Island as a volunteer to help with the planting of native trees. I ended up staying for 3 years as warden on the island and oversaw various monitoring programs and projects as well as new introductions such as the tortoises. With its steep shoe-shredding basalt rock slopes and the sun beating down on you, the island can be a brutal and thirsty place to work. However, for all the sweat it was incredible to witness the positive changes humans were having on the island after all the degradation.
Currently, I am carrying out a two-year research program on the Giant Aldabra tortoise for Seychelles Island Foundation and the University of Zurich. Primary objectives are to set up a long-term population study by individually marking and measuring as many individuals as possible; collecting data on tortoise movement via GPS telemetry tags, recording tortoise habitat- and vegetation use; collecting blood for a study of the genetic structure of the population and parasite prevalence. I intend to integrate data collected from this project in my MSc thesis.
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