Mr Fernandu Harold Khaebeb : Natural Resource Management Student

Brief: Recently co-authored a paper with Dr Morgan Hauptfleisch

You co-authored with your lecturer Dr Morgan Hauptfleisch. How did that come about? Dr Hauptfleisch availed a number of projects initiated and planned for the academic year. Having a background in fisheries and aquaculture, I wanted to diversify my skills and knowledge base, and took up the challenging task of small mammal studies. It really grows an individual to do what challenges you the most.

Was that your first experience as a published researcher? How did the experience benefit you? Yes, it was. It is a great experience, I never thought I will publish at this level. This will help me greatly with the future publications in my subsequent qualifications, as I have now gained the basic skills, planning, conducting research and writing for a purpose.

Your research publication entitled “Abundance and Diversity of Cryptic and Small Mammals in Communal Conservancies, Kavango Region – Namibia.” Tell us more about it and where it was published? The study was done in the communal conservancies, Kavango region. It looks at the available small mammals encompassing the rats, shrews and mouse, as well as the cryptic – the small carnivores (i.e. genet, mongoose) that are understudied in Namibia, especially in the communal conservancies. Additionally, it looks at the use of the small mammals as bio monitoring tools and what ecosystem services they avail to the local residents. The greatest focus of management and research is placed on the large, charismatic animals such as the lion, elephants and rhino.

The article will be published in the African Journal of Wildlife Research formerly known as the South African Journal of Wildlife. We were fortunate to attend, the South African Wildlife Management Symposium (SAWMA) in Kimberly, where we presented our research project together with fellow postgraduate students to prominent scientists in the natural resources management field. It is at this event that we networked and motivated to publish in the journal.

What keeps you going as a student and inspires you most? Appreciation for the natural resources and environment that our country is enshrined with, the contribution I, as an individual, can make in its management, sustainable utilization whilst developing our nation. Greatest inspiration comes from my beautiful wife, Hendrina and our three kids. They give me all the courage to proceed with the studies against all odds.

Please give us your take on enhancing research in including the number of publications in the new University of Science and Technology? For any university, it is imperative to engage in research that will enhance the economy and the livelihood of the nation, and the University of Science and Technology is no exception. I would like the University to develop a very strong link with the industry via research and product innovations. With regards to publications, that in itself shows the intellectual strength and resilience of the University. For us as a nation to achieve Vision 2030 and national objectives, it is imperative that we engage in applied research to add value to our products, be it intellectual, market-based or natural.

Share with us the challenges you faced while studying, writing the paper and how you overcome it? It is not easy been a student, especially when you have family. Been away from home was the greatest challenge coupled with the rising financial cost linked to studies. My family have been really patient and supporting, knowing that the sacrifice is to benefit all of us, including the nation.

It is easy to write but not academically. I had to read quite a number of publications, related and unrelated to master the study methods, comparisons and conclusions. In terms of writing, I have a great mentor Dr Hauptfleisch that believe in my abilities and nurtured the draft papers into publishable work.

Success Quote? “A journey of a thousand miles, begin with a single step” – Lao Tzu. “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill