Introductions : Lorentha

I spent most of my childhood in a village surrounded by the vast wilderness of our pristine country; I guess that’s where I got my love for the big and furry. My name is Lorentha Haraes and I must confess I’m a bit of an animal hugger, don’t get me wrong I appreciate plants too.

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Me bonding with Caloplaca lichen species and an Onimacris bicolor in the Namib deserts gravel plains.

Throughout my years in conservation I have been involved in various research projects trying to figure out where my interests lie. I started off by looking at lichens,stunning microscopic organism which consist of two totally different organisms, much like the werewolf lycan half man half wolf. Lichens are ecosystem pioneers, without them life wouldn’t begin, yet they are highly vulnerable. That’s what attracted me to this intriguing organism. I focused on the impact of different disturbance levels by off-road vehicle tracks on the abundance and diversity of lichen and the associated invertebrates. I found that off road vehicle tracks had a significant negative impact of both the abundance and diversity of lichens and their associated invertebrates.

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Diagnostic characteristics of oryx from aerial images (shadow and black patch on back)

Last year I had the chance to look at my favorites…..wildlife, I was part of an ambitious aerial wildlife photographic survey undertaken by the Greater Fish River Canyon Landscape. I looked at the effectiveness of the method and the distributions of wildlife throughout the landscape in relation to various factors such as artificial water points, soil and vegetation types. I georeferenced a total of 2148 animals and the most abundant animal was the zebra. Animals were all found in close vicinity to artificial water points and they were most abundant in the dwarf shrub savanna biome. This project gave rise to my new found love for spatial analysis.

I look forward to sharing my current and future work, interests and concerns of the conservation world on this blog.

-Lori

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