Influence of Seminars on Future Plans 08/04/2014

My Name is Shelley Louise Wardle, I am a Zoology Student at Bangor University and I am writing about how all the seminars I have been to have influenced my for my future plans.

From all the Seminars I attended, they have all given me a more understanding on what different Jobs there are out there, and have broadened my mind on what I would like to do for my future career. Before all the seminars my heart was set on working in a Zoo, now I have a variety of different Jobs that I would like to do, for example Member of a Conservation organisation , Wildlife Officer, Wildlife Rescue Centre and a Zoo Keeper. Some of the seminars have people with Jobs I would not like to do for example working for a university researching Microbiology as I found this particular subject did not appeal to me and didn’t interest me as much as other topics.

The seminars influenced me for future careers by seeing what some people have achieved, and has helped me realise that they are achievable and that one day I might have a career I enjoy much like them.

I enjoyed the Careers Café seminar as I had a dream of starting my own Zoo like business and had some really good tips on how I could start something like that off and how I would be able to get funded for this sort of business, the sort of business I would like to have is a conservation business for Canis lupus Grey Wolves. Also I spoke to a few people that have done a PHD which now I would definitely consider doing if I don’t find a Job and now know that there are other opportunities out there that I would be interested in doing.

During Bio Enterprise and Employability module I have a more understanding on how to write a business plan and what everything in a business plan means and requires, this would help me if I was to start my own business. Also how to write a CV which will help me get a Job, I was very proud of the CV I had created and the feedback I received from lecturers I am confident that my CV could get me far after I graduate from University.

Overall the seminars have given me a better understanding on how I could meet my goals in life and given me more confidence to complete those goals.

Some of my goals include:
– Finding a Job I will Love and Enjoy. (Zoo or Conservation Organisation are my top 2 Job choices).

– Travel different places to see different Animals all over the world (Canada, Australia and South Africa).


Illegal Hunting and Bush meat trade: An emerging crisis in African Savannahs – by Peter Lindsey

This talk was done by Peter Lindsey on Wednesday 26th March 2014.

Panthera is a Wild Cat conservation.

The talk was about Bush-meat trade and illegal hunting in Africa.

In forest biomes the Bush-meat trade is recognised now as a crisis. However; it composes as a significant component of economics in Africa. It is also an important component of food security in many areas, although unsustainable. It has resulted in widespread local extirpations of wildlife especially large species. The scale and impacts of this issue occurring in Savannah areas have received much less attention.

African Savannah 

Hunting for bush-meat is illegal in most contexts (in protected areas, without a license or permit etc) and is usually referred to as poaching. The most common poaching method is Snares (wired traps) with a study of 86.6%.

Characteristics of a Snare:
– Cheap to Produce
– Hard to Detect
– Extremely Effective
– Wasteful – Over 1400 rotted animals found in snares
– Non-selective
– Animal Welfare Implications


Other methods are used less often these include using dogs, Bow and arrow, firearms, Nets, Fire, Gin traps, Pitfall traps and small mammal traps.

Gin traps are much like Bear traps or spring activated traps.

Gin Trap

Bush-meat poaching occurs on a continuum primarily done to obtain meat for personal consumption, local trade, or trade to urban centres and even international cities e.g. 5 tonnes per week passes through Paris.

Ecological impacts of the bush meat trade

There are significant impacts on particular species especially large predators such as Lions and hyenas. They are affected due to there own trapping within the snare by finding prey items trapped in others close by, are also affected by a reduction in their prey population.

African Lions

African Hyena

Edge effects around protected areas

Bush meat hunting often imposes severe impacts on the edges of parks, these impacts include a reduction of wildlife abundance on edges, disappearance of certain species and reduced effective size protected areas. Wildebeasts are known to migrate outside of protected areas.


Catastrophic Wildlife Population Declines

Occurring where bush meat is allowed to proceed with no control. Areas such as parks during and after civil war, game reserves close to refugee camps and game ranches following settlements. Differences between the expected potential biomass per area and the actual was found to be much lower and this was associated with poaching.

Economic Impacts of Bush-meat trade

If wildlife populations were allowed to recover, the economic benefits for that given area would be greatly improved. Bush meat is an extremely inefficient form of wildlife use. Prices for illegal bush meat are low relative to legal game meat. Wastage and rotting occurs in snares. Legal hunters capture as little as 1% of the value of the wildlife that is destroyed.

Social Impacts

Loss of potential income for communities, loss of potential employment and loss of potentially sustainable supply of meat.

Drivers of the bush meat trade 

Rapid human population growth therefore increases the demand for meat. In rural areas bush meat is cheaper then alternative meats, however; in urban areas bush meat is more expensive then alternatives and is considered a luxury good.

Settlements and protected areas

Certain categories of protected areas are partly settled with people in many different African countries. The frequency of illegal hunting and bush meat consumption declines with distance from human settlements. Wildlife populations fare better in areas where human settlement is not permitted. In most areas the only way that communities living with wildlife can benefit from illegal hunting. The lack of alternative livelihood opportunities force reliance on bush meat. Unemployment provides ample time and opportunity for hunting. Quick cash income can be made from bush meat hunting. Hunters are able to earn the annual per capita income in one trip.

Lack of alternative food supplies

Lack of alternative protein sources, Livestock diseases, Livestock used as storing wealth rather than being used for meat and poor crop yields.

Other factors exacerbating the threat from the bush meat trade

– Underfunding of protected areas
– Inadequate penal systems (Wildlife crimes are low priority, Small fines and corruption).

Difference in approach to problem in forests and savannahs

In forests hunting should be controlled and not stopped, However; In Savannahs the potential for legal wildlife use is greater, poaching is easier to control and poaching should not be tolerated.

Funding for protected area management

– Greater investments in parks by African Governments.
– Elevated international funding.
– Development of frame works for co management.
– Attract private investment
– Capture the value of the carbon storage capacity in protected areas.

Funding allows for anti poaching measures. Legal protection for wildlife that include: changes to the law such as penalties reflecting wildlife and harsher sentences. Adequate training is needed for Judiciaries and law enforcements on topic of wildlife.

Land use planning

– Where settlement is not allowed, enforce it.
– Where settlement is allowed, place caps.
– Allocate clear and exclusive land rights.
– Allow for strict control in wildlife areas.

Make Wildlife as valuable as possible through legal means

– Expand tourism.
– Do not impose hunting bans on certain species.
– Link scale of carbon credits with biodiversity.

Alternative protein options

– Protected fish stocks.
– Irrigation programmes.
– Farming indigenous wildlife.
– Industrial development.

Greater focus and attention to bush meat trade otherwise….

– Loss of species and biomass from Protected Areas.
– Increasing pressure on protected areas.
– Limited social and economic benefits from parks.

I really enjoyed Peters talk. I gained a lot of understanding on why people would hunt for bush meat, however; I completely disagree with it, wildlife should be left well a lone. Using traps so harsh is wrong, not only does it cause a lot of pain and stress for the animal but a slow and painful death.  Species that we do not consume are getting injured or killed in this process. Harsher penalties need to be considered to decrease illegal poaching and to ban using harsh trapping such as snares, and come up with a better way of killing animals humanely. By banning trapping this will help prevent species that we do not consume getting trapped and killed inhumanely, as this is a waste of life.

Landscape scale Grey Squirrel Control: Lessons from the UK

This seminar was presented by Craig Shuttleworth who is with the European Squirrel Initiative.

The problems which Grey squirrels cause members of the public is that they are able to make their way into peoples lofts and roofs which they would chew through beams and electrical wires which can cause fires. 69% of the UK Adult populations want to control Grey Squirrel population in order to preserve Red Squirrel populations. Red Squirrel populations across a vast part of the Country were near to extinct due to the invasion of Grey Squirrels. The Decline in Red squirrels may be due to more than one reason as they to can carry different diseases, not just the Grey Squirrels.

The impact of Grey squirrels on the environment include:
– Bark Stripping
– Nest Predation
– Red Squirrels – Usually only the Juveniles.
– Property Damage
– Schedule 9 – Grey squirrels are considered a pest species and therefore all members of the public are allowed to cull these animals any time all year round.

Grey Squirrels were first introduced into the UK in 1876 from North America and are classified as a non-native species. They are much larger than Red squirrels with a body weight of 500 – 750g. Their diet are the same as the Red squirrels and therefore compete for food and always win. Grey squirrels carry the Squirrel Pox virus infection without showing any visual signs that they have got this virus, this effects red squirrels and is one of the reasons for their decline. The Grey Squirrels are able to infect the Red Squirrels by spreading it via faeces and urine. Grey squirrels do not do very well in Spruce dominated forest habitats, which is the preferred habitat of the Red squirrels.

Culling of the Grey Squirrels are done by trapping, shooting and poison.

Red Squirrel Decline

Grey Squirrels suppress Juvenile Red Squirrels recruitment rates. Squirrel Pox Virus produces pathogenic disease in native Red Squirrels, to identify whether a Red squirrel has the Squirrel Pox virus is by looking at their skin, face and anus as you would see lesions, a Red squirrel would die after 3 weeks of having this virus.

Scotland holds three-quarters of Red Squirrel populations which fortunately they are not exposed to the pox virus and are more successful.

Anglesey is a peninsula covered by 4-5% fragmented woodland, including scrub. In 1998 a population of 40 Red Squirrels and 3000-4000 Grey Squirrels. A project aimed to eradicate Grey Squirrels spanned 1998-2012. It was found that there was a decline of SQPV throughout the years, in 2012 declining to 0. An initial population increased occurred which then stabilised across the study period, it was found that after a great increase of Juvenile recruiting rate a massive decline occurred afterwards, However; this was due to adult Red Squirrels.

The Return of the Red Squirrels

It was shown that in 2000 the population numbers of Red squirrels was very high. In 2001 there was an out-break of foot and mouth disease at farms this resulted in the Scientists/researchers could not check on the Red Squirrels for six months, which caused concern. In 2002 there was a major decline which was due to population numbers of Adult Red Squirrels increasing and had nothing to do with the Grey Squirrels.

Reintroduction of Red Squirrels

1991 – 1997 Thetford Translocation.

They had one hectare of open pen cut into the forest with bridges to let squirrels move out into forest. The squirrels could not get in but could not get out, resulting in them getting stuck this caused the project to be unsuccessful as they were living amongst the Greys.

The Red Squirrels which died during the reintroduction project it was noted that 92% were infected with Adeno-virus, the virus is also seen in 88% of Welsh Mountain zoo and 42% of free-living Red Squirrels. Adeno-virus is also seen in Grey Squirrels and Wood mice. It is hard to detect and can only be detected within 4 hours after death.

Anglesey is a peninsula

Anglesey is peninsula therefore Grey Squirrels still have the ability to cross-over and potentially infect Red Squirrels. In order to prevent this a number of different deterrents were used at the borders of Gwynedd and Anglesey. They tried talking to the train company but they would only allow controlled only at train rail height which would be useless. Others included Tiger dung and sonic deterrents, However; research on these controls proved ineffective. The case of Anglesey cannot be applied to other open areas due to it being a peninsula.

Painting the town Red

It is impossible to stop the Grey Squirrels or Reds crossing the Bridge (Menai) or swimming across. From this, we ave gained an opportunity for the community to work with us.

It is their duty to raise awareness within the European Union and other states and to develop new squirrel control method (to come up with more solutions to try and stop Greys crossing the Menai).    

  This map shows the distribution of Red and Grey Squirrels.

I really enjoyed this seminar, as I’ve always been interested in how Grey Squirrels effect Red Squirrels.


Dragons Den 17/02/2014

-During this session we had to come up with a business plan/idea choosing either Museum, Treborth or other.
-In my group there was 7 individuals and we all chose to do Brambel Museum.
– We all came up with different ideas using 9 different prompts. This is what ideas me and my group come up with:

1) Vision – Educate the public, Entertainment, increase awareness of conservation, world class attraction, increase tourism and expand to 3 floors of brambel building.
2) Products and services – Technology (Touch- pads), Cafe, gift shop, Charge to pet live animals, Charge to see special events/shows, Public donations and sell products with original logo on.
3) Benefits and impact – Education and entertainment!, Original logo on products, Tourism and To give something people will talk about.
4) Customers and competitors – Families, Students, Children and Elders, Gift shop, Cafe, Petting zoos (Very popular e.g. Chester zoo and Natural History museum in London), Special events (Bird and Reptile shows), Competitions (raffle, quiz, games etc) and Deals in shop and cafe (Student Discount).
5) Marketing Activities – Education and enjoyment, Newspaper advert, Business Cards, Facebook page, Educational talks to schools, Advertisement boards, Own Website and Leaflets and posters.
6) External environment – Technology can be a tool (Ipads, iphones etc) will have to have up-to-date technology and upgrade software – Hire a technician or student,
7) Operations and Risks – In Brambel building, Insurance, Public liability, Content insurance E.g. First aid for animals and people, Supervisors and Fire exits and alarms.
8) Me and my team – University, Retailers, Animal care and handler, Educational Officer, Employ students and local people, Museum speaker/guide, Security (CCTV), Veterinarian on site and Cleaner. Volunteers and staff will need specific and relevant skills in order to work at the museum.
9) Costs and income – Student discounts in gift shop and cafe, Free of charge for entry to museum, Charge to pet/feed animals, Donation box, Charge for special events, Bank loans, grants. Need money per month for: Staff, Animal needs, Stock for cafe and gift shop, Technology, Insurance and Bills. Partnership with university.

After we done our different ideas, we then made a 20 second video advertising our business idea.

After we had finished our video we then went on to picking different sections each individual in the group to talk about in our presentation and wrote down what we was going to say.

Altogether there were 7 different presentations, with four dragons asking each group questions and marking them, also other groups marked each other using yellow cards with A, B, C, D and E and we held what we thought was suitable for their work.

After every one did their presentations, we then had a feedback session of each group discussing between each other about what we learnt and what improvements that could of been made.

Some feedback I included was:
– Unique selling point
– Bear competition in mind
– Remember target market
– Bear in mind budget
– Management of employees
– Keep focussed – Less distracted by outside ideas
– Team working/working with others
– Communication Skills
– Time management
– Think logical, keep ideas realistic

From this work shop I gained a more understanding on how a business works and working as a team. This would help me in the future when I get a job or decide to create my own business, I will know what steps to take and basics of business.


Chester Zoo – What Zoos can do – by Mark Pilgram

Mark grew up in Portsmouth. Left school with no qualifications. He went to college and then University and studied Zoology. After university he got a Job as a Bird keeper at Chester zoo, and now he is The director at Chester zoo.

Chester zoo Is based in North England and is a Zoological Society, established in 1931. Chester Zoo is a Conservation and Education Charity. The zoo always puts the animals first and have a saying that it is a Zoo without Bars.

Within the Zoo there are a variety of different endangered animals. They have around 802 mammals, 1223 Birds, 318 reptiles, 427 Amphibians, 4970 Fish etc.

At Chester zoo, they employ 330 full time staff and 250 additional seasonal staff. They run an intern programme which at the moments consists of 33  1 year long intern-ships and 45 three month intern-ships. It 1.4 Million visitors a year and  the zoo is self funded through zoo visitors.  Chester zoo is ranked in the top 15 zoos in the world and is the second biggest paying visitor attraction in the UK.

Chester zoo has 6 different missions in which they aim to achieve.
1) Ensure greatest conservation impact

Captive breeding as part of an action plan. Partnership with the North Wales Wildlife Trust and Countryside Council for Wales introducing plant species. Direct funding of projects for Conservation which consist of long term programmes with no end date and short term projects. A sustainable and green zoo. Education, inspiring visitors about the natural world so that they care enough to make changes in their lives that benefit nature and the environment. By doing this they do Visits to schools and doing talks.

2) Be a world class must see visitor attraction

It will be fun and exciting and meet the needs of the visitors.

3) Excellence for animal and plant care based on sound scientific principles

Veterinary programmes including Heart help in Great Apes. Science lab specialising in endocrinology. Chester zoo is the only zoo with a professional nutritionist.

4) Long term viability

Good business practices for long term stability and show case of conservation programmes.

5) Staff are recognised as being the heart

Staff are passionate and tentative zoo keepers.

6) Ensure excellent reputation

Members of National and International organisations. Improving welfare etc in other countries.

Future developments:
An attraction called islands which they are going to spend £30 million on. The attraction is going to give the feel of taking an expedition through the South Eastern Asian Islands. It will be highly participatory and different attraction. It will be the largest zoo development ever in the UK and will hope to increase visitor numbers and income.

The painted dogs enclosure was used to show case their conservation programmes over seas. The painted dogs are one of my favourite animals at Chester Zoo.

I really enjoyed this seminar, as I have been to Chester Zoo a lot as a child, and Is one of my favourite zoos in the UK. It was nice to know what drives the Zoo and all the programmes and organisations that they are involved with.

Thanks 🙂
Shelley Louise Wardle


Careers Cafe 05/12/2013

The careers cafe consisted of 5 different speakers who had each attended Bangor University.

First speaker was Ross Piper started University in 1995 and finished in 1998 and studied Zoology as he was interested in animals particularly insects. After finishing University he then went on and did a PHD for 3 years looking at rare beetles. After completing his 3 year PHD he went and got a typical Job which was unrelated to his course, by this he gained some experience and other skills but thought it was a waste of time. He then did a couple of post-doc courses on Agro-ecosystems. During his spare time at weekends he wrote books about Biology and got published in 2007. At the moment, this year he is writing a book called Animal Earth, which he also made a tv show on it, for the tv show he went on a 6 month expedition to Burma.

Second speaker was Cherry Shacklady, She was a mature student at Bangor University and finished in 1999. She worked in The Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay for 10 years as a Primate zoo keeper. Next she was a marine biologist and then went on to be an Assistant Scientific Officer for molecular biology. She then did a weeks trial of being a teach at a local school, and decided that this is what she wanted to do and got a full time job as a teacher. After that she then did a PGCE at Bangor university which then afterwards got offered a temporary job which then turned into a permanent job at a School. She said working hard over the years she moved up through the ranks and is now a high position at the school.

Third speaker was Nia Jones went to Bangor university and graduated in 2003. She then did a masters in Ecology. During her time in Bangor she was involved in the marine conservation society translating posters into welsh. At the marine conservation society they got funding to get a marine education officer who then left but she offered to do most of the work which he left in her spare time. The North Wales Wildlife Trust was looking for more marine conservation and decided to collaborate with the marine conservation society. The North Wales Wildlife Trust then took her in for a paid job. She now runs a lot of different marine programmes. She gave us a number of different advice such as the importance of volunteering getting involved and if your working in Wales its important to learn welsh.

Fourth speaker was Naomi Willis  did Chemistry at Bangor university. After uni she went to the job centre to look for an environmental type job however, they offered her a job cutting grass. She did a project on drinking water over a changing seasons which was funded partly by the Welsh Water. Afterwards she then joined Welsh Water doing water treatment risk assessments, she did not enjoy this job very much and got offered to be a technician, she then decided she did not enjoy this job either and took a part time job in regards to public health which then became permanent. The advice she gave us was to stand out from the others and to change layouts etc of your CV to try and catch the employers eye.

Fifth speaker was Imogen German did a Biology degree at Bangor University and graduated in 2007. After uni she google searched jobs. She found a telegraphing job which she used to save up for to go to Ecuador for 6 months as part of a research station. She attended another paid project looking at Andean Bears, taking part by radio tracking them and speaking to locals to find their locations. After this she had a lot of temporary jobs including a Research assistant looking at Cow behaviour and another one surveying Birds. After this she went to South Korea to teach English. She is currently doing a PHD at Bangor University and is working as a teaching assistant.

Advice was then given to us by us asking them questions, some advice they all gave us was if you are looking at application forms and find them easy to fill in, its probably a good job for you. When filling in an application, you must make sure you follow set out guidelines and to always double check it before handing it in. Working hard gets you noticed, Voluntary work is always a good start as most people end up getting a full time paid job there as they got noticed how hard working you are. Make the most of the time you have, by working hard. Before applying for a Job make sure you know the organisation first and what they are actually expecting from you when working for them (Research the Job). Think about what questions they may ask you, and prepare yourself before you go to an interview on what your going to say. Use examples to back up what you are saying in an interview.

I found the Careers cafe very helpful as I have many different ideas of what I want to do after University, I spoke to Ross piper about how to get more opportunities for jobs, and he explained about the PHD and what grades you need to do it and what a PHD was all about. My dream is to be able to travel and explore the natural world and he said if you did a PHD, during the course you will get to travel. I also spoke to him about starting my own Conservation business and wanted to know how I would start something like this off, he gave me a website to go on where you can post a conservation idea up and people vote on it and you can see how much funding you would get from it.

Many Thanks
Shelley Louise Wardle


Microbiomes by Douglas Yu

I love the story he told at the beginning of the seminar about the Woman that was ill due to low diversity of bacteria in her poo. In order to get her better they had to get poo from her husband which was then watered down and then sprayed inside her which cured her. The way he told this story made me laugh a lot.

The seminar itself was very interesting, and Douglas made it a lot more fun with how he presented the seminar with jokes. It was very casual. He explained things in a very simple way which made it very easy to understand.

Microbiomes are ecological communities a host can selectively choose to associate itself with a mutualistic symbiont. One example he used way the Light-emitting bacteria Vibrio Fischeri in the squid. The squid is not born with the bacteria and vibrio fischeri is the only bacteria that becomes a symbiont. In the squid the light organ is full of enzymes that turn oxygen into poison to survive the bacteria uses up the oxygen and produces light.

He explained about different bacteria beneficial and pathogens in competition with each other. It was quite technical and hard to understand the concept, if I researched more myself I would get a better understanding.

The next part of the seminar was very interesting as it was about meta-bar coding, in order to get important ecological information he spoke of a team of scientists identifying species of moths, altogether they identified 600 species by morphological sorting which took 700 person hours. Then using meta bar coding using the same samples they identified nearly 1000 species in only 350 person hours. This method is very effective in terms of saving time and identifying species.

Meta bar coding can also be used for environmental management decisions. It can identify different strategies and compare how close they are to the desired outcome. For example conservationists wanted to manage an area to be similar to heathland and they had a range of different land treatments they found that turfs stripping and agriplough strategies were most similar to heathland.

Overall I really enjoyed this seminar, Douglas Yu is a very good speaker and very good at explaining the information required. 🙂


Understanding Adaptive Radiation using Population Genomics – by George Turner

The focal organism for George Turner’s research is the Cichlid (Tilapia). The Cichlid is a global food fish and also a popular aquarium fish, however many species are at threat or extinct. The Cichlid is the biggest known example of modern adaptive radiation. It is believed that the differences that exist between species arose from Sympatric Speciation, rather than Allopactric. Big lakes such as Lake Malawi have a complex biogeography and phylogeny, however there are many assumptions based on morphology.  There are similar systems that exist in crater lakes. These are smaller lakes of approximately 500 – 800m in diameter and 2 – 40m in depth, formed by volcanic explosions. Small lakes are not necessarily a model for big lakes. Crater lakes were assigned to their height above lake Malawi, however there was no correlation between height and habitat type. Speciation that exists included: giant and dwarf forms, pale and dark forms. There was also differences in body shape. Differences in colour was thought to be due to differences in habitat. Dark colour was associated with deep habitats and pale colour associated with shallow habitat. Using microRNA technology enabled full genome sequences of the Cichlid species. It was found that closely related species were found outside of lake Malawi and were not connected. However, less related species were found in lake Malawi and were connected. These results are the opposite of what was expected.  Crater lakes were genetically distinct and species specific to one another, this was regardless of colour forms. This evidence supports sympatric speciation. Both crater lakes and big lakes were founded by the same species.

I found the seminar very interesting. What I liked mostly about it was that there was a lot of photos of the lakes and species of fish mentioned, by this I found it a lot easier to understand what George was talking about and got a feel for what it was like for him whilst he was out doing these experiments out on the field.  In the future I would like to be able to work out in the field, working with endangered species such as Wolves. From seeing what George has achieved I feel more confident about achieving my own goals in the future.