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Dikobe Molepo 2019/20 AfricanBats NPC intern come to an end

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Dikobe Molepo 2019/2020 intern
Dikobe Molepo 2019/2020 intern

On the 1 September 2019 (until 31 August 2020), Ms. Dikobe Molepo joined AfricanBats NPC as a Department of Science and Technology - National Research Foundation (DSTNRF) intern. This is what she has to say about herself:

"I have always had enormous love and curiosity for nature, and this led to my enrolling for a science degree at the University of Limpopo. I completed a BSc degree in Molecular and Life Sciences, BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees in Zoology all at the University of Limpopo. My post graduate training was on the phylogenetics and the phylogeography of birds, Spurfowls (BSc (Honors)) and the Southern boubous (MSc). In my years of studying, I had the most wonderful and challenging experiences, and I learnt many things and for this I will forever be grateful for the education I received.
I worked as a laboratory assistant (helping 1st and 2nd year students) at the University of Limpopo during my post graduate studies. I was then awarded the opportunity to work as an NRF-DST intern in 2018 and I had the most rewarding 12 months of my life at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). I am currently given the chance to continue working as an NRF-DST intern for AfricanBats NPC and this for me means new experiences and more learning. I have already learned a little about bats and have had the chance to attend the 'Introduction to bats' course (Bat biology, ecology, conservation and identification) which I really enjoyed and appreciated. I am looking forward to learning more as an AfricanBats NPC intern".

During her time as an intern with AfricanBats NPC, Dikobe helped in the capturing of historical bat banding data records into a database. Having these records digitized will allow for further investigations into this historical data sets. Then the global COVID pandemic interrupted our fieldwork program, where Dikobe had obtained all her necessary vaccinations for working with wild live animals. Hence her training and experience working with bats could not occur. But through our National lockdown in South Africa - Dikobe continued to work on capturing and cleaning of data at home. Even though in email and WhatsApp contact. there is a missing element of personal interactions, sharing of knowledge and experience - that is lost in mentoring remotely. Even though we did not have funding to support a PhD candidate for a bat project. Dikobe kept looking for opportunities to further her studies.

Dikobe is currently registered for a PhD at the University of Stellenbosch, where she is looking at invasive biology where the title for her PhD is "The predatory behaviour and impacts of the invasive Vespula germanica (German wasp) on Apis mellifera (Honey bee)and other indigenous insect species in the Cape Floristic Region, Western Cape Province, South Africa." - Dikobe MOLEPO and Ernest C. J. SEAMARK - AfricanBats NPC.

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