It is with a heavy heart that GVI says goodbye to Benjamin Tupper, SANParks Coordinator. Beginning as a Bushwise six-month intern in December of 2011, Ben quickly earned a spot on the permanent staff due to his knowledge, love of the bush, and his passion for the GVI SANParks program. For a year and a half Ben played a dual role on Karongwe hub: he coordinated and ran a very successful SANParks program which involved training and placing volunteers at different national parks around the country while also playing an integral role on Karongwe as a research assistant, conducting research drives, bush walks and contributing to Base.
Though there are plenty of amazing qualities that Ben possesses, he was most known for his infectious laugh, his remarkable facial hair, his laid-back and relaxed attitude, border-line obsession with leopards) (Panthera pardus
), and his fantastic photography skills. Thanks to Ben’s quick camera trigger-finger and his love for wildlife we have been able to capture some stunning photos of our focus animals and the other creatures of Karongwe and the surrounding areas, such as Kruger National Park (check out his Facebook page
). His extensive knowledge and love of teaching have helped volunteers learn extensively about the bush and allowed them to see and appreciate the surrounding nature. Not only did his guiding skills made him well-respected by the volunteers, but also by the rest of the reserve. His knowledge of the reserve and movements of the focus animals, especially the two cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus
) brothers, were both recognized and praised.
Ben is returning to the United States to focus on one of his other passions, environmental education. He will be starting his PhD candidacy this coming fall at one of the top schools in the country. Ben has made a great impact on GVI, both at Karongwe and as the SANParks Coordinator, and will be sorely missed by staff and volunteers alike. We are so excited for his next adventures and look forward to calling him Dr. Tupper!
The Karongwe Team
GVI South Africa