When volunteering at the Primate and Predator project I spent most of my time on the predator section. They do not usually let you do both sides of the project if you are there for under a year but I was super lucky to do both!!

At the time of volunteering I was diagnosed with a hip impingement (which I was actually misdiagnosed with) and had a fall which the project was concerned about. They thought the predator side would be less risky for me, which I did not disagree with but I also was not enjoying the primate side. I mean I loved the monkeys, I loved the people I lived with, I loved the activities but because I am so social I found it difficult to spend 10-14 hours a day on my own. There was a guy on the predator side who was also not enjoying the predator side because he wanted a more practical experience so we just swapped positions. Even though I was working on the predator side I still helped out with the primate volunteers by conducting vegetation plots, phenology and I helped find the monkeys on the Tuesday afternoon.

So what did I actually do?

The predator section was not as practical as the primate section but it was just as important!! We all had the same days off (whether you were a primate or predator assistant), which were Sundays and Mondays. Hikes to camera trap stations were always scheduled on a 2 week rota just to make sure that they all were managed properly. We would hike for either 4 or 5 days of the week (starting at 8am and finishing whenever), which varied between 5-10 miles.

Some of the hikes were truly magical, especially after the first rains. You know when you are watching David Attenborough on your TV and he visits some incredibly stunning, scenic places that you wish you could visit? well it was like that, except better because you were there! you were visiting! you were living!! I’m not much of a landscape photographer so I didn’t snap many photos of the mountain so you’re just going to have to imagine the place through my description. Imagine standing at the peak of a mountain (not as high as Everest and not snowy at all), on cliffs edge, surrounded by silence and bush. You’re looking out to see many other mountain peaks which are covered in green vegetation only and in between these mountains is a gorge which is beaming with vegetation and wildlife.