Thanda Safari has relationships with a range of leading conservation organisations and universities, locally and internationally, in order to achieve sound, substantial, pioneering research.
We encourage students and universities to regard Thanda Safari as a research destination of excellence where you can conduct research and contribute to research activities that will contribute to an ever-greater understanding of wildlife and environmental management.
Below is a list of some of our current projects, and we actively encourage our graduates, interns and research partners to propose and lead new research projects.
External Research Projects
PhD Lion Project
Meta-analysis of lion population dynamics and management interventions in enclosed reserves of South Africa. Data collection now complete
Climate Change Project
Understanding the impacts of climate change through monitoring of elephant body temperatures and how they adjust to increased temperatures.
Elephant Impact Study
Ongoing, long-term research on the impact of elephants in small game reserves is contributing to a solid elephant management plan for Thanda Safari.
Internal Research & Monitoring Projects
Hyaena Population Density and Space Utilisation
Via our camera trap survey, Thanda Safari has built a database of hyaenas that occur on our reserve. Some of the identified hyaenas have also been seen on neighbouring reserves, which has raised questions about their space utilisation and what primarily drives their movement (i.e food availability/hunting/other predators etc.). This is an exciting internal project where Research Assistants have the opportunity to get involved in nocturnal work to locate and monitor these fascinating animals.
Annual Game Counts (annually between August and October)
Road-strip game counts are completed annually in order to establish the numbers of general game and also their age and gender. This is a critical aspect of game reserve management to ensure that the eco-system balance is maintained to support all species.
Rhino poaching continues to rise in South Africa, putting this magnificent member of the Big 5 at risk of extinction. Rhino monitoring is a key part of our work on the reserve to support our field rangers in finding and identifying all our rhinos on a regular basis. This is part of our multi-pronged anti-poaching initiatives.
Nocturnal Mammal Surveys
Very little is known about the numbers and home ranges of many of Thanda Safari’s smaller nocturnal mammals. To gain a greater understanding, insight and knowledge base, we combine data from camera traps with data from night drive monitoring. Nocturnal Surveys focus predominantly on Aardvark, Honey Badger, Porcupine, Leopard, White-tailed Mongoose, Caracal and Serval.
Bird Density and Diversity Surveys
Bird density and diversity says a lot about the health of an ecosystem, as they are one of the first animal groups to be affected by changes. By measuring the bird density and diversity of specific areas on a regular basis we can create a baseline standard for the area and identify and address negative impacts more swiftly.