World Wildlife Day 2024

March 3, 2024

Marwell Wildlife Mres conservation Students at Kalama conservancy, Kenya carrying out transects

This World Wildlife Day, we’re shining a spotlight on one of our MRes Wildlife Conservation students. Having recently returned from a trip to Kenya with the Marwell conservation team, Sam talks about his passion for conservation, and the profound impact of hands-on learning in shaping his journey as a wildlife biologist.

“I’ve always been interested in wildlife, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to get into conservation, so this has been a great course to improve my skills and knowledge.

“Species adaptation and evolution is a big interest for me, so it’s amazing to see how the wildlife in Kenya has adapted to the many challenges it faces and the similarities and differences to here in the UK.

“The field trip to Kenya with Marwell opened my eyes to how wildlife conservation operates in the real world. The learning we have undertaken at Marwell has been invaluable, but seeing the concepts we have been taught play out firsthand has added a new dimension to my understanding.

“Seeing an African elephant or a white rhino in the wild is an experience unlike any other!

A white rhino group at Lewa conservancy, Kenya
Marwell Wildlife Mres conservation Students at Lewa conservancy, Kenya putting out camera traps with Lewa conservationists at a watering hole

“There is also so much value in talking to the very people who are living with and affected by wildlife daily. We learned of the unique challenges that local communities and conservationists are facing in the world today, and of the innovative ways in which they continue to monitor and protect our most valuable species.

“We gained experience in tracking rhino and zebra footprints, and in identifying the calls of just some of the 400+ birds in the area. Truly, the never-ending depth of knowledge from local guides and researchers has filled us with a newfound appreciation for the value of wildlife, and what it means to conserve a species.

“The skills we have developed while in Kenya have enhanced our capabilities as aspiring wildlife biologists. Above all, it has been an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and where our talents and interests lie – so that we can be in the best-placed position to make a difference and protect wildlife.

– Sam Da Silva, Mres Wildlife Conservation student with Marwell Wildlife and University of Southampton.