Beckie’s realisation of her love of African wildlife began in 2002 on her first trip to the continent. This brief Kenyan safari instilled a great passion for African wildlife conservation and learning more about the vast continent. Following many travels to Africa, an opportunity arose to take a 12 month sabbatical from her full-time job as a paramedic in the UK, in which she travelled across the globe and volunteered on numerous African wildlife conservation projects in Zimbabwe and Zambia. After this and an extended 12 month stay in Zimbabwe working on a predator conservation project, Beckie decided to return to the UK to gain her BSc (Hons) in Zoology, during which she continued with her visits to Africa, Botswana this time, where she was involved in a cheetah conservation project. There was no looking back!
Beckie moved out to Botswana after finishing her degree in 2011 to pursue a career in African wildlife conservation and has held numerous research assistant and eco-tourism positions. Her love of vultures was inspired by her colleagues in Botswana where she is lucky enough to be part of a nationwide vulture research project. This has allowed her to experience and appreciate the beauty and charisma of these magnificent birds. Whilst living on a game farm in the Ghanzi district she was not only able to study vultures but also to live with them on her doorstep, which she considered a real treat.
Beckie has now enrolled at UCT to continue her education and hopes to eventually complete a PhD. Her study is focussed on the Lappet-faced vulture and will investigate status, space use, breeding and key threats. During her work with the Botswana vulture project she has witnessed several poisoning episodes and is uncovering significant data on the impact of lead on vulture populations. She is hugely concerned about the current and future impact of these threats on southern African vulture populations and hopes to contribute towards the applied conservation of vultures in Botswana.
A study of Lappet-faced Vultures; nesting behaviours, space use, ecology, status and quantification of threats to vultures across Botswana: What factors influence their survival (Supervisor: Arjun Amar).