Aug 8 2012 10:00AM
A group of students from UCS Otley visited the Mankwe wildlife reserve in South Africa for a once in a lifetime study trip.
The ten day stay saw foundation degree students from UCS Otley, based at Otley College, gain knowledge on a variety of conservation projects at a location that was based two hours from Johannesburg.
The reserve was a 12,000 acre site that had animals including white rhino, zebra, jackals, giraffe and a number of antelope species.
On the trip, students were involved in insect surveys, grassland management, setting up observational cameras and they also visited a national park in Pilanesburgh where they had ‘a close encounter with an elephant’ according to UCS lecturer, Denise Gibson.
“Seeing an elephant charging towards us was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. He was only a few metres to our left.”
“My heart was in my mouth and I was frozen, unable to take photos. It certainly was a close call but wonderful to see an animal like that in its natural surroundings.”
Head of HE at UCS Otley, Denis McAuley, said: “What was learnt on this trip gave all of our students a real thirst for the possibilities of a career in this industry.”
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the sort of experience that can give our students a real edge when they begin their careers. Some learners are considering going back to South Africa to gain some more experience in the future.”