Amanda Martin ’19 has been awarded a Fulbright Student Research Grant to South Africa. Her project, “Large Animal Waterhole Utilization and its Effects on Ecotourism,” will explore links between biodiversity and ecotourism. She is one of a record six Colorado College students who received a Fulbright this year.
Martin, an organismal biology and ecology major from Crownpoint, a rural town on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, will study the effects of tourism on large animal waterhole usage in Addo Elephant National Park, a sanctuary for a wide range of South Africa's wildlife near Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Says Martin, “I propose to use camera trap images of waterhole use in Addo Elephant National Park to analyze the relationship between large animal utilization of waterholes and their visitation by tourists. The camera trap images will contain five-minute intervals of 11 different artificial waterholes around the reserve. With the camera trap images I can analyze the presence and absence of animals at the waterholes as well as the different species of animals at the waterholes.”
She also will measure tourist activity with the camera trap images, analyzing the camera trap data to look at wildlife and tourist interactions around waterholes.
“This research will have value in exploring and further understanding the links between biodiversity and ecotourism,” she says. “In promoting ecotourism and biodiversity, this project will also aid in conservation of wildlife. The results also will contribute to help land managers make decisions about waterhole placement and tourist flow.”
While at Colorado College, Martin studied abroad in South Africa, where she explored savanna ecology, conservation management, and field research.
“In traveling to a different country I also got to experience different cultures and learn their customs, traditions, and languages,” she says. “I want to engage with the host country community through direct cultural exchange of customs, traditions, and language. Understanding each other’s cultural differences is important in celebrating cultures and I think teaching different cultural activities such as cooking, dancing, or storytelling is the best way to engage in the community. I would like to teach them about my Navajo cultural heritage in exchange to learn about their many diverse cultures.”
As for her post-Fulbright plans, Martin says, “I plan on applying to veterinary school. I want to pursue veterinary medicine as a career so I can directly help animals in need. I want to specialize in large exotic animals, specifically big wild cats. After veterinary school, I want to become a wildlife veterinarian and either work on a wildlife reserve or in a zoo.”