Students help out in Africa

Lucinda Green and Kayleigh Foster on safari in South Africa.

Lucinda Green and Kayleigh Foster on safari in South Africa.

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INTREPID animal lovers from Northumberland College are heading to Africa to help save the rhino.

Animal Management students Lucinda Green and Kayleigh Foster, who study at Kirkley Hall, are paying a return visit to South Africa.

The pair first went to the country last year on a college educational trip.

So when Game Farm Manager Bester Scheepers asked if volunteers would like to return to his ranch in Hluhluwe this year to help support conservation efforts, the two students were quick to sign up.

Mr Scheepers works tirelessly to protect both black and white rhinos and the volunteers will work alongside the Saving Private Rhino organisation.

They will help with a range of activities, such as monitoring rhino behaviour and grazing patterns, making identification kits, identifying areas in which rhinos are found and working on the breeding programme.

Ms Green, 20, who will complete her Higher National Diploma (HND) this year and is a keeper at the Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, said: “One of our most memorable moments from last year’s trip to South Africa was seeing the critically-endangered black rhino in the wild. We both have a passion for conservation so when we were given the opportunity to go back to help with in-situ rhino conservation, we jumped at the chance.”

Ms Foster, 24, who has just completed a Level 3 Diploma and will start the HND course in September, said: “We have learned so much about conservation of various animals in their natural habitats, so to have the opportunity to go to Africa to see them for real was amazing.”

The pair recently completed the Alwinton Round 20-mile walk to raise more than £350 for three rhino conservation charities.