Scientist: Dr Adi Barocas
Organisation: San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, WILDCRU (University of Oxford)
How PTES has helped me so far: Funding from PTES has helped us purchase valuable items for field work, such as the inflatable rubber boats used to study otters inside oxbow lakes. It was also instrumental in setting up the project’s human dimension team, that promotes environmental education in gold mining communities.
I started studying wildlife as a biology undergraduate student in Tel-Aviv University. I since have studied kestrels, rock hyraxes, river otters, wolves and foxes. I have always been attracted to projects with a strong field component.
Why I love giant otters
I think otters in general are beautiful and charismatic. I am impressed by how they have adapted to living in water and feeding on fish. I particularly enjoy observing giant otters because they are social animals that have complex interactions with each other.
The project aims to understand if and how gold mining affects giant otter populations and the aquatic ecosystems they depend on. Using the evidence collected, I will secure the conservation of giant otters and their habitat.
What your donation can achieve
Could buy the team a GPS device to record all the giant otter locations; a cooking tent for field team’s campsite; a tablet for recording interview answers; or a solar panel for charging electronic devices.
Could get the team a device that will examine water quality; 250 gallons of fuel for a month-long field trip; a satellite communication device; or a mobile freezer to store samples.
Could get the team a rubber boat to increase the number of lakes it can visit each day; a video camera to document giant otter behaviour; a generator to charge cameras and batteries; a drone to map lakes.
Could get the project’s aluminum boat which allows transportation among oxbow lakes; or a boat engine.