Sara Kophamel

Scientific Research

What inspired you to begin doing research?

Since I was a child, I was captivated by wild animals. After studying Veterinary Medicine in Spain, I had the chance to work at an exotic pet hospital in Germany, where I had to treat patients as diverse as softshell turtles, red kites or axolotl (we even had a monkey once). I was mainly involved with the reptile patients. I then realized that although working with “strange pets” teaches you a lot, you are not really helping those species in the wild. I then decided to focus more on research and conservation, and started a Ph.D. project in Queensland, working on sea turtle health. I never regretted that decision.

What do you enjoy about working with sea turtles?

I love my job! I guess that knowing that you are helping wildlife is the main driver for keeping the enthusiasm high. I am very lucky to be working with one of the most fascinating species on Earth. Coming from a big city, I enjoy being out in the reef, smelling the sea and feeling the wind in my face while rushing on a boat to the next sea turtle hotspot. To be honest, I did not even know if I would easily get seasick or not when I started my research- I had never been out in the field before! But I just got hooked.

I really hope that every Earthwatcher joining my trips will feel the same, knowing that they are helping in understanding these beautiful creatures.

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