I am a research fellow and museum curator at the University of Eswatini. I am passionate about field biology, especially conducting biodiversity surveys to discover unknown species on the African continent. I have been fortunate enough to be part of a team that conducted a small mammal focused biodiversity survey in Liberia and Guinea, where we described two species of small mammals new to science – a bat and rodent. These discoveries resulted in the protection of their habitats by governments of both countries.
Recently 15 days’ worth of intense field work during a survey of Rhabdomys sp. in the Southwestern highlands of Eswatini failed to record a single animal, despite the survey sites being ideal habitats where Rhabdomys historically occur. Several human activities were observed, however, including unregulated cattle grazing and the growing of pine and eucalyptus plantation, both of which destroy the grassy habitats on which many small mammals depend. The development of vast plantations also reduces the available land for local people to graze their cattle, which may increase the likelihood of overgrazing.