Post-de­gree OE proved a thriller

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By ADEN MILES

Wit­ness­ing a huge great white shark rip­ping through the ocean’s sur­face would in­tim­i­date most peo­ple but this was all in a day’s work for re­searcher Rod­ney Au­gust.

The 22-year-old from Toko­roa spent three months in South Africa study­ing great white sharks.

‘‘I fin­ished Uni­ver­sity (Vic­to­ria, Welling­ton) at the end of last year and a friend told me about this job over in South Africa work­ing with great white sharks which is some­thing I have al­ways wanted to do,’’ he says.

Rod­ney ap­plied for the in­tern­ship and left in Jan­uary. He spent three months in Mos­sel Bay in the Western Cape prov­ince of South Africa.

He worked as a re­search as­sis­tant for two doc­tor­ate stu­dents who run a group called Oceans Re­search.

‘‘Ba­si­cally what I did was I went out on the boat ev­ery­day and we took ge­netic sam­ples of the sharks. We did photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, we put GPS track­ers on them and fol­lowed them around for 40 to 50 hours at a time.’’

The re­search team also fo­cused on pop­u­la­tion dy­nam­ics and in­ter­nal tem­per­a­tures of sharks.

Rod­ney said the ex­pe­ri­ence was in­cred­i­ble.

‘‘ It was too much fun, I thor­oughly en­joyed it. You would go out there for eight hours on the boat and see sharks jump­ing out of the wa­ter.’’

Next year he plans to study for a masters in sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tions and his long-term goal is to shoot wildlife doc­u­men­taries.

SHARK MAN: Great white shark re­searcher Rod­ney Au­gust.

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