I thought I’d share my grad school project with everyone to help promote conservation and share how it benefits not only certain species, but entire ecosystems as well.
For example, rhinos are an iconic species that are important to their environment because their large body size allows them break down trees and shrubs, which result in large clearings of open savanna (notice how it blends in with its surroundings in the first photo). This in turn allows species like cheetahs to accelerate at top speeds and have better hunting success. It also allows large herds of zebras and impalas to have access to grazing vegetation necessary for their survival.
Without rhinos or any other large megafauna in the area, there would be uncontrolled growth of trees and shrubs, resulting in more woodland habitats than open savanna/grassland habitats that many species are adapted for. It goes to show that if we take one piece out of the environment, it can affect the entire ecosystem.
This was one of many things that I learned during my time in Namibia this summer through my #earthexpeditions
I hope to inspire others to learn more about conservation ecology and its significance to all threatened ecosystems around the world.