Two people from Devon will join five others in a conservation and adventure expedition to Namibia after winning a competition from Land Rover and conservation organisation Biosphere Expeditions.
During the two-week trip, which begins in November, James Chubb and Adam Hill will be part of a group that will live in the bush, and study and assist with capturing and collaring big cats so they can be tracked and monitored effectively.
As part of a team of researchers and scientists, the team will conduct vital research on the behaviour of big cats such as leopards and cheetahs. They will also work with local communities to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
To win their place on the trip they had to upload a video demonstrating why they deserved a place on the expedition. An online voting system allowed videos to be ranked in order of popularity, following which 30 people were shortlisted. After an initial round of telephone interviews, 21 contestants were invited to attend the final selection day.
They faced a tough day of challenges and activities where they were scored according to their capabilities, personalities and team-working skills. They were also taught how to drive a Land Rover appropriately across difficult terrain, preparing them for the African landscape, how to use GPS navigation systems and how to record data, enabling them to search for the big cats and record behavioural information.
James is a Ranger who says his life to date has been dominated by his love of wildlife. An obsession with anything that flies, swims, slithers, crawls or runs underpins his passion for exploring the natural world.
Teacher Adam leads a very active lifestyle and loves animals. Travelling is his reward for working hard as a teacher – he thrives on seeing and learning new things – and is looking forward to sharing his Namibia experience with his pupils upon his return.
They join three others from the UK, one person from Spain and one from Italy.
Take a gander at James’ video (you can catch Adam’s on the competition website)
(image: Adam Hill from Devon at the Land Rover and conservation organisation Biosphere Expeditions competition selection day at Eastnor in Birmingham)