Mushara elephant project
For the past 15 years, Utopia Scientific researchers have been conducting ongoing elephant behavioral and conservation research in Etosha National Park, Namibia. Over the course of our field season from June to August every year, we monitor the social interactions of over 150 known bulls and approximately 15 different family groups. Our research has both basic and applied components with the goal of understanding elephant society and their communication strategies as well as learning new mechanisms to remotely monitor movements and mitigate potentially negative interactions with farmers. Please click here for more information.
Caprivi Elephant Monitoring
The elephant herds of Southern Africa are some of the largest herds of wild elephants still ranging freely across international borders. Utopia Scientific researchers worked with the Ministry of Environent and Tourism (MET) in Namibia to conduct some of the first satellite tracking and systematic aerial census monitoring of these elephant herds to show the size of the herds, where they moved and how long they stayed in Namibia, Botswana and Angola. These studies are continued today by the MET and the Conservation Ecology Research Unit at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
BVI Coral Reef Restoration
In the early 1980's, disease and changing environmental conditions killed a large proportion of the Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) in the British Virgin Islands. Today, some of those coral heads are regrowing naturally, but in a bay on Guana Island off the coast of Tortolla, the Elkhorn coral has failed to re-establish itself. Utopia Scientific researchers have been working with faculty and students from H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and University of Rhode Island to "replant" coral fragments on these reefs. The project has had tremendous initial success with almost 200% new growth per year since it was begun in 2005.
BVI Flamingo Restoration
Carribbean Flamingoes (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) were naturally abundant across the British Virgin Islands until 1950 when they were driven to extinction. An ambitious plan to reintroduce the species to Guana and Anegada Islands met with great success initially, but the birds failed to reproduce on Guana Island. Based on the success of social attraction strategies in other colonial seabirds, Utopia Scientific researchers introduced decoy flamingoes, nests and eggs on Guana and recorded the first mating and nesting behaviours seen in these flamingoes in a decade.