About the South American fur seal project on Guafo Island, Chile
Since 2007 a multidisciplinary team have studied the reproductive ecology, diet and diseases of South American fur seals at Guafo Island, and continued to promote this as an important site for biodiversity conservation. The project I will be working on focuses on the environmental and host factors that affect the dynamics of hookworm infection in the fur seal pups. Hookworm disease is the most prevalent cause of mortality among pups and causes retarded growth and anemia in up to a third of the pups born each year.
Guafo Island is situated in the Northern Chilean Patagonia, which harbors an astonishing marine biodiversity.
I have been offered the chance to work on Guafo Island, with South American fur seals. I am keenly interested in the project, which is looking at how seal health is affected by environmental factors. I will benefit from learning new lab techniques and advanced necropsy skills, and can offer in return my experience in fur seal handling, sample collection and ability to work in harsh weather conditions.
I will be living in isolated and basic conditions, with no electricty or running water and limited communcations to the outside. Though all housing, food and travel to the island is covered by the project I have to fund my own flights to Chile from the UK.
My career ambitions are to work full time on projects such as these, as a field technicianin in pinniped (seal) research. I believe this opportunity will expand my current experience and allow me to make more contacts in the field. I am asking for help to fund my flights to Chile to allow me work towards my career goal and provide experienced support to the project. Research such as this is critical for conservation of these species.