Izzy McConnell

Trainee Safari Specialist

Meet Izzy, a trainee safari specialist.

A SNAPSHOT

Izzy studied Biology at Newcastle University, before moving on to University of Bristol to attain her MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation. As part of her Masters, she went out to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, to conduct research for her thesis on the personality of livestock-guarding dogs.

IZZY’S BIOGRAPHY

Izzy has always been passionate about wildlife and travel. She first went on safari in East Africa when she was 13, and she knew from then that she wanted to work in the African travel industry.

Izzy studied Biology at university, and during her summer holidays she went out to South Africa’s Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centre. Here she was responsible for looking after a variety of animals, including giant eagle owls, servals, vultures, honey badgers, and cheetahs! Izzy also went on a wildlife tracking and monitoring course with her university in Thailand, in which she spent her time radio-tracking king cobras through dense forests.

Having completed her degree, Izzy found that she wanted to continue her studies, specialising in conservation. For this purpose, she embarked on a Masters in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation. For her thesis she went to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, to collect data on the personality of livestock-guarding dogs through a series of behavioural tests. While she was at CCF, she was able to take part in game counts (during both day and night), watch scat-detection dogs in action, help in cheetah husbandry, and assist with tourism aspects, such as giving the cheetah-feeding talk to members of the public. She also enjoyed the opportunity to drive and travel around Etosha National Park. Additionally, Izzy got the chance to go on early-morning horse rides with the founder of CCF before starting her work for the day, which was really a wonderful way to explore the surrounding bush and learn more about everything CCF achieves. Izzy is presently in the process of getting her thesis published in a scientific journal.

MY MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

One evening in Namibia, after sitting around the fire, I went to put something in the bin to find that it was already occupied by a honey badger, who jumped up and growled whilst I quickly ran away backwards! Luckily, the honey badger did not follow me and went back to rooting around in the bin.

Another amazing memory is the moment I saw African wild dogs for the first time. It had always been my dream to see them in the wild, and our guide in South Africa managed to position us so that the pack ran right by the car. Our guide then managed to navigate through the bush, keeping up with the dogs. A really memorable experience!

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