Sorry guys! This shoud have been up a few weeks ago. Blaming the WiFi is childish, I know, But…
A few weeks ago I mentioned in a post that I was going to travel to South Africa to attend the Crocodile Specialist Groups 24th annual working meeting. Today I arrived in Skukuza rest camp in Kruger national park.
Looking at my ticket I gulped a bit. Traveling from Flå to Skukuza would take approximately 30hours of my life away from me. I love to travel as much as the next man, but I am not a huge fan of being locked inside planes and airports for prolonged periods of time. I need to move and use my body to not go insane. But all in the name of science. And when you see monkeys and warthogs from the window of your hut the traveling is quickly forgotten.
Skukuza rest camp is the largest rest camp in the largest game reserve in Africa, Kruger national park. A national park larger than the landmass of Israel, where every corner is teeming with wildlife. I have been in the area for less than five hours, but I have already seen water buffalo, impala, a Nile crocodile, warthogs, monkeys, and a myriad of beautiful birds. My camera is going to get used a lot the coming days.
I am here to attend the CSGs 24th annual working meeting. That means that I am going to get to meet and learn from the foremost experts in the field of crocodile conservation and management in the world.
The only reason why I am here is due to dumb luck and my ability to send emails to the right people. When I were still a biology student I sent an email to an Australian researcher who was working on crocodiles, to see if he had any tips to fields of master studies I could do on crocodiles – in Norway. He had many interesting tips, but most of them required me to move to Australia, Africa, or the Americas to pursue the field. I then got hired in my current position as a zookeeper in Flå and I soon put the idea of a master’s degree behind me. When my boss announced that we were getting crocodiles at the park I once again reached out to the researcher to see if there was any way I could do some volunteer work. To make a long story short; The researcher was Grahame Webb, The chair of the Crocodile Specialist Group. He proceeded to formally invite me to the Working Meeting in Skukuza, so that I could build a network for myself and our park. I got the “go ahead” from my boss, and here I am.
I am here mainly as an observer for the park. I am here to learn as much as I can, and to extend the parks network and to build on our reputation as a serious actor in the crocodile conservation world. Our park is fairly new in keeping crocodiles, so any information we can get out hands on will benefit us greatly.
The next few days I will be attending a series of symposiums, safaris, and social gatherings of the CSG. I will have the chance to meet some of the top names in the game, and listen in on discussions of current research and management trends.
Attending this conference will only scratch the surface of a vast field of science, but we all have to start somewhere.
I will update the blog with new and pictures as I get them (and get a proper wifi connection)