A group of Hartpury adventurers had the time of their lives as they delved deep into the conservation and culture of a tropical paradise.
The 24 students, who are all studying BTEC Level 3 Diplomas in Animal Management, were given the unique opportunity to see a wide range of indigenous species in their own natural habitat in Borneo.
On the 13-night trip, they experienced a night river cruise to see proboscis monkeys and fireflies, visited an orang-utan sanctuary, experienced a rainforest canopy walk and visited a local zoo.
They also stayed on the island where the television series 'Survivor' was filmed – Pulau Tiga – and visited a mud volcano there, as well as visiting natural hot springs and the cultural village 'Monsopiad', which was once the home of a tribe of headhunters.
Sophie Woollhead, 20, from Brockworth, said: “The trip was really insightful and my favourite experience was definitely going in the mud volcano and then jumping into the sea afterwards. It was amazing to see so many different species of animal in their natural environment.”
The Borneo trip was linked to the ecology and conservation unit of the students’ course, including topics such as wildlife rehabilitation, animal adaptations, different ecosystems, plant life and cultural differences.
Stephanie Carrington, 21, from Ledbury, said: “This really was a once in a lifetime opportunity, there were loads of new and exciting activities. My favourite part was staying on Survivor Island and scuba diving off the shore to see the coral reef.”
Animal Management students are able to go on a variety of trips as part of their course. This year, they have already been to Crufts to link in with their module on dog breeds and to Crocodiles of the World, where they got the chance to handle a range of reptiles, including a young West African Dwarf Crocodile.
Other trips have included Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol Zoo and Dudley Zoo, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Birdland and Slimbridge.
“These trips all link into what the students learn on their courses, including animal husbandry, animal accommodation and feeding,” said Subject Leader for Animal Management, Nichola Mayo. “They are an invaluable part of their learning journey.”
Work experience is also a key element of the Animal Management courses, with a number of students lucky enough to secure placements in zoos and other wildlife and conservation settings.
Hartpury students develop the skills and knowledge they need for a wide range of animal careers, including benefiting from the unique partnerships that Hartpury enjoys with charities and companies throughout the agriculture, animal and land sectors.
Animal Management students have gone on to become wildlife rangers, animal welfare officers, biodiversity field officers and laboratory and research technicians among many other careers.