Clarissa is a part of our educational tier, working with an innovative spirit in the field. Hear about her experience in her words:
August 16, 2017 – Hey everyone, my name is Clarissa and I am a student at Appalachian State University in the United States. I had the pleasure of visiting South Africa to intern for Adventures with Elephants and EDGE. I initially came to simply broaden my horizons, but left with unparalleled life experience and a new knowledge for wildlife conservation. I spent most of my time working on two projects: footprinting and scent matching.
The footprinting project’s objective was to gather as many quality elephant footprints as possible, the pictures of the footprints were uploaded to conservationfit.org
to build unique footprint profiles for each elephant. The hope is that there will be a way to use these controlled footprints to identify age, sex, and height of wild elephants solely from one of their footprints.
As for scent matching, there are a couple of existing publications that utilized an elephant’s olfactory abilities; my goal is to run a forensics based project using the elephant’s acute olfaction in order to possibly alleviate many current wildlife and street crime complications. I enjoyed my time here immensely and very much look forward to returning and completing this project!