Volunteer in South Africa and work on an incredible black rhino, elephant and big cat research and conservation project in Kruger home to the Big 5. The Greater Kruger area is home to lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard, as well as over 400 species of birds. This project aims to share data with large scale projects, conservation agencies and the authorities to protect habitats and species and to help with education of humans to reduce their impact. Game drives are an important aspect of this placement. As well as having the opportunity to be involved in research about reptiles, project initiatives relating to the Big 5, include:
- The rhino population has dropped from 100,000 in the 1960s to around 3,500 today and a reintroduction programme has taken place in the park, to protect and monitor this species.
- Elephants are suffering because of the conflicts with humans in the region, so the project monitors the elephant’s environment and behaviours in an effort to secure their futures.
- Big cats populations have seen a 80% decline in numbers in the last 30 years due to illegal poaching, a lack of prey and reduction in habitat.
- Buffalo continue to be vulnerable and so tagging and recording data about them is important to their survival.
Come and learn or develop your research knowledge and skills and help the project team to protect and conserve these magnificent species futures in their natural habitats.
Why choose this project?
As a volunteer who loves animals join this fabulous project protecting Africa’s Big 5, and support local communities and project with their conservation efforts through providing hands on help, collecting and analysing data, and discussing projects. You will have an amazing experience learning about local history and gaining cultural immersion while learning about rhinos. elephants, big cats and so much more. If you are studying animal welfare or wildlife conservation you will be able to learn more about research techniques taking place to protect wild animals who are at risk from climate and habitat change, and human interaction, which may help you with your studies.
Role of the volunteer
As a volunteer, living and working in the heart of a Big 5 Game Reserve, you will be actively involved in carrying out research on the population of the wildlife, as well as helping with the maintenance of the habitats of the animals. Your placement will be determined by the needs of the local project at the time of your placement and you will be supported by an experienced local team while:
- Gathering information in the bush captured from a number of species such as elephant herds
- Observing hunting practices as well as noting social, breeding and territorial behaviour
- Recording the night time movements of the rhinos
- Collating and recording research data and participating in office based conservation project work
- Contributing to habitat maintenance and conservation initiatives such as creating waterholes, road clearing, soil erosion prevention, and litter collection
- Participating in conservation education
You must have a genuine love and concern for animals and the environment to join this project. Due to the physical nature of the work and the days spent on your feet in the park, a reasonable level of fitness is required. An enthusiasm, openness and the ability to be flexible and cooperative is vital and awareness of research skills, knowledge and experience in African wildlife is helpful, but not necessary, as you will learn on your placement. If you are studying and wish to gain credit speak to a Kaya Placement Advisor. Please bring a laptop to help with data and project activities.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
You will be based in a beautiful Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger area in stunning South Africa famous for the Big 5. Days will be spent on the reserve learning about the animals and their habitats and you will have plenty of opportunities to see the animals in their natural environment. At night time, sit around a fire listening to the sounds of the wild while gazing at an amazing sky. You can also relax by the pool in your time off, or if you bring your own laptop use the wifi to touch base with friends at home. At weekends there are a range of excursions that you can join to complete your true African adventure.
- Duration: 2 -12 weeks
- Cost: £1340 / $2345 for 2 weeks, £345 / $604for each extra week
- Requirements: Age 16+
- Location: Greater Kruger, South Africa
- Project activities: Research, data capture, monitoring wildlife, maintaining habitats
- Working Hours: Monday – Friday; 6.00 – 17.00 (schedules may vary depending on the time of year of your visit)
- Project Availability: Project runs every second weekend. Contact a Kaya Advisor to confirm exact dates.
- Arrival day: Sunday
What is included
- Accommodation: Shared twin accommodation within the game reserve with outdoor area and swimming pool
- Food: 3 meals per day
- Airport pick up and drop off on Sundays into Nelspruit Airport (after August 2016, OR Tambo Johannesburg beforehand)
- Weekly laundry service, for a small fee
- Training: Pre-departure information pack, on-site orientation and project induction
- Research drives and transfers relating to your project during your stay
- Support: 24 hour support from on-site coordinator.
- Activities: Staff help organise weekend activities. (Activity price may be extra)
What is not included
- Wifi (available locally for a fee and you will need your own devise)
- Police/Government Background Check; US and UK citizens will be processed through Kaya (admin fee applies) all other nationalities must provide local police check.