Students visit South Africa for a Life Sciences field trip

Two students from University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences relive their field trip of a life time to South Africa.


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Life Science students got the opportunity to visit Mankwe for 10 days to learn more about conservation, wildlife and the environment. The School of Life Sciences field trips aim to give students an understanding of how their classroom work and skills can be applied to real-life conservation. Whilst on the field trip, students undertook identification tests of animals and plant species, with a data collection and essay counting towards 70% of the module.

Two students, Chantell Payton and Charlotte Briddon share their once in a lifetime experience with us. From identifying plants and animal species, to tracking animals and going on anti-poaching patrols, the students were given a first-hand insight into the country’s rhino poaching crisis.

They even got the chance to see a White Rhino up close in the wild, which was an amazing experience they’ll ‘never forget’.

Chantell said: “It was a harrowing experience to hear about their poaching problems with the rhinos, and how they are likely to be extinct in around 10 years. Then to hear about the ethical and political disagreements with legalising the trade of rhino horn and ivory.”

Bioveterinary student Charlotte said: “The most memorable part of the trip for me, was learning about the Rhino Poaching Crisis and the extent to which it affects the lives of the workers there, and knowing that while I was there I helped through the anti-poaching patrols.

“A talk about the poaching crisis was eye-opening, and raised so many questions about educating the public on the medicinal properties of rhino horn, but also about the extent to which poachers will go to obtain the rhino horn.”

Students took a trip to the University of Pretoria where they examined models of animal veins, muscles and nerves in a pathology lab. They also got to look at a range of preserved foetuses for giraffes, canines, monkeys, horses, and many others.

Chantell explained: “We got the chance to look at the clinical veterinary testing they do, ranging from blood labs to viruses. We also got an impressive talk from one of their lecturers who deals with rehabilitation of rhinos that have been poached and have severe wounds on their face from the horn removal, and the types of experimental methods they use to aid the healing and rehabilitation of the rhinos.”

For Bioveterinary Science, the first year module of animal anatomy, and the second year module of animal nutrition, students were taught the theory aspect of the 4 chambered stomach in ruminants. Being able to see an antelope dissection really complimented the course.

Whilst there was a lot of work, you can’t go to South Africa without a safari trip to Pilansberg National Park.

From giraffe, to elephants, crocodiles, cheetah’s and their cubs, to lioness and their pride, students got to see so many animals running free.

Chantell added: “There was one amazing moment in particular when the sun was beginning to set and we were at the watering hole, then a herd of elephants with a calf came from the distance.”

Charlotte said: “Overall it was such a memorable experience, and I’m so glad I got the chance to go to Mankwe reserve, I wish I could go again with the university next year!”