Local Equine student Nicky Morgan from Lipson, Plymouth, is packing her bags this week and leaving the British summer behind for the wilds of Kenya. Nicky is heading to the Samburu District to join a conservation field research project with Earthwatch, the international environmental charity.
For two weeks Nicky will work with Earthwatch's new Samburu Conservation Research Initiative to monitor the endangered Grevy's zebra. She will help to observe how the Grevy's zebra population living in the local Lewa Wildlife Conservancy compare to the population inhabiting Samburu community lands. Her findings will help local communities and conservation organisations to reduce competition between wildlife habitat needs and human land-use practices.
Working with an international team, Nicky will spend half of her time at the Wildlife Conservancy and the other half tracking the unprotected Zebra population in Samburu. They will drive over the savannah, mapping locations, habitat, movements, and associations among Grevy's zebras, plains zebras, and other grazers, including elephants.
Nicky, who gave up an eleven year career in licensed retail trade to study a degree in Equine Behaviour and Training at the Duchy College in Cornwall, will use the data that she collects for the basis of her undergraduate research project. Meanwhile, all of Nicky's efforts will help Earthwatch scientists to identify conservation and management strategies that can be employed to sustain a healthy population of Grevy's Zebra.
Nicky says, 'Joining this Earthwatch conservation project is a fantastic opportunity for me. I have an inherent passion for wildlife having spent my childhood in Africa and Borneo, and I am fanatical about horses, even if they have stripes! Not only will this research project contribute to my studies, but it will allow me to play an important role in the conservation of the zebra, who's numbers have alarmingly declined by 70% in recent years.'
Claudia Eckardt, Volunteer Programme Manager for Earthwatch says, 'We are very lucky to have some one as dedicated as Nicky supporting our mission. Her work in Kenya will contribute to a long term conservation programme that could not operate without the support of our volunteers.'
Anyone is eligible to follow Nicky by joining one of 140 Earthwatch projects currently underway. For more details please visit www.earthwatch.org/europe, email email@example.com or telephone 01865 318831 to speak to a Volunteer Programme Officer.
For press information, interviews and images, contact:
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer, Earthwatch, + 44 (0) 1865 318806/ firstname.lastname@example.org