Gore Bay student looking forward to trip of a lifetime to study African wildlife

Cheyenne Barnes, of Gore Bay, studies ecology at Laurentian University and will be taking part in a trip of a lifetime to Africa in May.

GORE BAY – A Gore Bay student who is pursuing her studies at Laurentian University, online for the time being, is looking forward taking the trip of a lifetime to Africa, to help a research team with a wildlife research and conservation program.

“So basically, a professor at Laurentian (University), who has taught me previously, had randomly emailed me to say I had been selected and had a job opportunity, a volunteer job opportunity, in Hartenbos, a small town in Africa located near Capetown,” stated Cheyenne Barnes, of Gore Bay. The program she is going to be taking part in is the wildlife research and conservation programs (Nkongo in African).

Ms. Barnes explained, “basically they are trying to understand problems African wildlife are having and look at mitigating effects. Their current work is on white rhinos—social behaviour, social resource use, Bovid behavioural flexibility and wildlife fatality on roads, as well as (a similar study) of Hyenid (hyenas).

Cheyenne will be leaving from Gore Bay on May 10, 2021 and be in Africa on May 12. “We will be staying a whole month,” said Cheyenne, noting at this point she hasn’t confirmed how many other students will be taking part. “I understand they only accept three or four people at a time to work with a research team.”

“I used to take a zoology program at Laurentian but I transferred to the ecology program,” she told the Recorder. Cheyenne is in her third year of the program, which is normally a four-year program in total. “It is supposed to be a four-year program but I will be taking three more years. Due to COVID-19, I am missing the hands-on work of lab and field work applications.”

In Africa, “I will be assisting the research team. We will collect data, observe the animals’ behaviour, use trail cameras and analyze data.” 

The fee for taking part in the program is 6,000 Euros. However, this will not cover everything for her trip. For instance, it only provides for half of her meals and for her stay on weekends. “In total, the trip will cost approximately $12,000, which includes everything.”

Ms. Barnes is looking at fundraising campaign ideas, one being to repurpose old Christmas decorations. “I’m asking members of the public if they could provide me with the used Christmas decorations they have and I will repurpose them and make new Christmas decorations.”