Date of release: Monday, December 1, 2014

Hoi-Yee Lam in MadagascarAn exclusive, all-expenses-paid zoological expedition to Madagascar was 'a great experience' for University of Greenwich at Medway student Hoi-Lee Yam.

The 26-year-old was selected to join an expedition of experts who are investigating ways to combat the threat posed by rats across the African continent. She is currently researching barn owl diet and small mammals as part of her studies towards an MSc in Environmental Conservation at the university.

The StopRats: Sustainable Technology to Overcome Pest Rodents in Africa Though Science project is being led by the university's Natural Resources Institute (NRI). The project is of particular importance because of the impact the animals have on people's lives – spreading disease and affecting food security, nutrition and safety.

Hoi-Yee says: "Madagascar was a great experience and I learned lots of new skills, which I hope I can put to good use. I found it interesting to discover different ways to trap small mammals as well as seeing the sheer diversity of species."

Dr Debbie Bartlett, Programme Leader for the MSc in Environmental Conservation at Greenwich's Medway Campus, accompanied Hoi-Yee on the trip. "As part of the course I aim to give real-world experiences and Hoi-Yee's trip to Madagascar was invaluable with her studies," Dr Bartlett says.

"Wherever possible we like to put students in the field, with previous trips including four students accompanying me to Australia for a month to take part in the Darwin centenary celebrations. Next spring two of the current students will be travelling to India to take part in an ongoing project on landscape management."

The MSc in Environmental Conservation is a two-year, day-release course designed to fit around regular work, or a one-year course if studied full-time. All students take part in a range of day and weekend field visits, as well as a week-long residential trip.

To find out more about the StopRats project: 

For further information on studying with the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, see, call 020 8331 9000 or email

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Hoi-Yee Lam in Madagascar.