Temmincks pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal. This animal is unique to Southern Africa, and just as rare are the conservationists who are working against all odds to save this species from extinction. While the incidence of poaching within South Africa is increasing, as is the value of a pangolin, the conservation workspace is rapidly becoming increasingly dangerous. In light of the above, one cannot help but be concerned for the well-being of the pangolin conservationists. Despite engaging in meaningful work, the conservationists are exposing themselves to prolonged stress that is likely to impact their well-being. The purpose of this study is to explore the well-being of Temmincks pangolin conservationists in terms of state and trait depression as well as burnout. Furthermore, the study aims to understand whether coping mechanisms or resilience mitigate the effect of the potential depression and burnout. Therefore, a sequential explanatory mixed-method design was adopted for this study. The quantitative data was gathered using the Maslach Burnout Inventory General Survey (MBI-GS), the State Trait Personality Inventory Form Y (STPI-Y) depression subscale, the Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced (COPE) questionnaire and the Predictive 6 Factor Resilience Scale (PR6). The qualitative data was collected utilising a semi-structured interview. Results indicated that the participants were currently experiencing both state and trait depression. Additionally, a third of the sample is at risk of developing burnout. In spite of this, the participants displayed the presence of goal focus, tenacity and collaborative spirit. These elements of resilience were shown to assist the conservationists to persist through adversity. The participants also showed the use of effective coping mechanisms, namely; accepting, planning and critically engaging with perceived stressors. These coping mechanisms were shown to enhance the presence of the resilience indicators. Thus, despite depression and burnout
impacting negatively on their well-being, the participants are utilising coping mechanisms and resilience which enhances their well-being. Recommendations included a developmental workshop focusing on fostering effective coping mechanisms to build stronger resilience and ward off potential burnout and possibly ameliorate current depression experiences.
Dissertation (MA (Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2020.