While we are learning how to coordinate a blog between the Kalahari and the Drakensberg (more on that later), this page will be updated regularly with some information on those students and researchers who contribute to this blog. Photos will follow, where possible, but your patience is appreciated.
Aliza le Roux — I’m the principal investigator on the Bat-Eared Fox Research Project, and am generally interested to see how bi-parental care (especially the presence of a caring father) affects the cognitive and physical development of young animals. Unfortunately, I have to balance my time between lecturing and being in the field, so my blogs will only come out when I’m lucky enough to visit the site. In the past, I’ve studied rodents, mongoose, and monkeys, so it makes for a nice change to follow around a nocturnal carnivore. To contact me, please get in touch via ResearchGate or find my details at the Mammalian Cognition Research Group’s website, here.
Ruan de Bruin — I was one of the people involved in getting the Bat-Eared Fox Research Project started. This involved long nights looking for any signs of fox activity, den areas and feeding hotspots. I also spent many hours habituating these dainty foxes to a level where they will allow us to follow them on foot. All these long hours of hard work is contributing to my PhD. I am interested all the biological processes of the species, but for now, I focus on paternal care and how the hormones affect this behaviour while looking at the overall hormone change over a calendar year. By the end of my degree I hope to have shed some light on this species and contribute scientifically to our knowledge of how they “work”!
PJ Jacobs — My name is Paul Juan Jacobs, but people just call me PJ. My Honours research focused on variables associated with measuring standard metabolism and whether repeated measurements influence this measurement. The goal of my Masters degree, at the Bat-Eared Fox Research Project, is to investigate puzzle solving ability between captive and wild bat-eared foxes and relating this to explorative diversity and personality. In the end, I am just a keen investigator on the cognitive abilities of canines, with my future goal to become an academic and avid researcher on canine cognition. The bat-eared foxes are the first stepping stone towards this dream.
Keaon Jumbam — I’m the newest addition to the innovative project of bat-eared foxes (aka batties) in the Kalahari, and it is a privilege to join this growing group of enthusiastic and hardworking young scientists as they make their mark in the interesting world of carnivore research. My previous research has been predominantly on invertebrates; firstly with spiders on sub-Antarctic Marion Island for my Honours degree and then with invasive Argentine ants for my MSc at Stellenbosch University. Batties are therefore my very first encounter with the mammal world and my project is aimed at exploring both physiological and ecological factors influencing stress levels in female batties. I look forward to the experience.
Samantha Renda-Dollman — I studied my under-graduate degree in Entomology at UFS and completed my Honours, working on tsetse fly behaviour the following year. I’m currently accruing some additional research experience in field work, before deciding on a Masters. Assisting with the Bat-eared fox project seemed like an excellent opportunity to do this, so here I am, in the Kalahari.