Emi Pedrazzi

Master in Biology

I have always been fascinated by everything that involves nature, especially animals, leading me to pursue a bachelor's degree in biology at Lausanne University. During my final year, I discovered the “black rhinos’ conservation ecology project” initiated by Vanessa Duthé. This project charmed me from the beginning, at the point that it brought me to Neuchâtel University to study ecology, evolution and conservation. 

Master thesis: “Follow your gut: unravelling the interactions between endoparasites and rhinoceros”.

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinoceros (Ceatotherium simum) are critically endangered mammals found in Africa. They both suffered a drastic decline in the last century, mainly due to poaching and habitat loss. A good knowledge of their ecology is essential to assure the success of conservation measures. Yet, some aspects are still poorly understood, such as the interaction host-parasite. The latter is determinant to guarantee a good management of these species.

The subject of my Master thesis is the transmission of endoparasites in black and white rhinos in Ithala Game Reserve, South Africa. The focus is on the factors that drive the transmission, especially the role of vegetation structure (browses or grasses) and feeding habits (browser or grazer). I collected faeces and different vegetation types in multiple sampling sites and analysed the parasitic load. The spatial analysis should give insight on how the parasitic load in rhinoceros is linked to their feeding habits and the vegetation structure. 

Emi Pedrazzi

Emi Pedrazzi


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