Safari4u Game Capture Internship
Game Capture volunteers assist an experienced South African wildlife vet and their professional game capture team with wildlife relocations throughout the Eastern Cape. During this 2-week session, volunteers are involved in every aspect of the capture from planning to immobilization, then transport and release. Training includes providing treatments as needed, monitoring vitals, and physically transporting a wide variety of species. Lectures and discussion groups with experts in the field allow for a comprehensive wildlife experience. Anyone with an interest in exotic medicine, conservation, or simply a once-in-a-lifetime experience is welcome to join!
This program is still accepting applications for 2022
Departure2022: April 23-May 9 | July 23-August 8
Return TimeAnimal Lovers | Pre-Vet Students | Vet Students | Vet Techs & Nurses | Vets
Dress CodeInterns receive a welcome packet on arrival with a full program itinerary, guide to local culture and t-shirt. Training is provided for all activities. Limited to 6 interns per session.
IncludedAccommodationAirport TransfersLaundry FacilitiesMealsOn-Site SupportPre-Departure SupportWi-fi
Not IncludedFlightsFree-time ActivitiesTravel InsuranceVisa Fees (if applicable)
During the week, volunteers stay in a lodge on a beautiful game reserve with electricity, running water, and modern bathrooms. Bedding is provided and we guarantee safe and comfortable accommodation throughout the program. Meals are simple and nutritious. Breakfast consists of cereal, fruit, eggs, toast, tea, and coffee. A sandwich lunch is packed at the beginning of each day- options include meat & cheese, peanut butter & jelly, or tuna mayo, along with fruit and juice. Dinner includes a protein, a starch, and at least 1 vegetable. We try to accommodate all dietary preferences. Our vegetarian menu has gotten rave reviews!
Vet/Animal Activities:The majority of our African wildlife experience is through game capture: the tranquilization of wild animals for treatment or relocation. Tasks include monitoring vitals, injecting medication, and physically transporting the animal. Students also learn about the dart gun and have an opportunity to practice under supervision (firearm operation & safety training is provided).
- Helicopter Capture
- Curtain Capture
- Net Capture
- Dart Gun Capture
- Passive Capture
- Cage Traps
- Safety protocols during game capture
- Pharmacology (species-specific tranquilizers)
- Species identification
- Dart gun safety, introduction and practice
- Types of capture (when, why, and how)
- Hunting (Canned, Trophy, Conservation, etc.)
- Population control (culling vs. relocation)
- Ethics of game capture
- Ethics of specialized breeding
- Animal Experience (hours/week): 30-40
- Vet Experience (hours/week): 20-30
- Clinical Experience (hours/week): 10-20
- Surgical Experience (hours/week): 0
- Genetic Variation: Most wild animals in South Africa are contained within a government and private game reserves to protect them from the growing human population. This has created a need to closely monitor the population of animals within each reserve to prevent inbreeding and overpopulation. Animals are moved in and out periodically to mix up the gene pool.
- Land: Sometimes the land on a game reserve becomes inappropriate for type or number of animals on it and they must be relocated, i.e. during a drought or after a bush fire.
- Poachers: Another danger for animals in game reserves is illegal hunting, also known as poaching. This is especially troubling for reserves with certain species like the white rhino. When a game reserve experiences a high level of poaching, the animals may be removed to a different part of the reserve or another reserve for their own safety.
- Illness/Injury: This is not as common a reason as most people think it is, because wildlife are usually more difficult to find and capture when they’re ill or injured. The sedation may even be more of a risk than leaving the condition unattended. Money is also a consideration, as it often is in veterinary medicine- the worth of one animal may not be great enough to warrant the necessary vet bills (similar to a production animal point-of-view).
- Game Farms: This is a major reason for game capture in South Africa and it’s a strange concept for people from the Western world- a man with a private game reserve may buy a giraffe simply because he wants to own a giraffe. The process is strictly regulated to ensure that the land is appropriate, the vet is using acceptable drugs & equipment, and the animal’s welfare is not compromised. This is a controversial topic and there are many factors to consider (including those mentioned above)- students have an opportunity discuss this topic with our wildlife vet, Program Coordinators, and each other as a group discussion.
Weekend Activities and Trips include:Stay Local: Our motto is “work hard, play hard!" Weekends and evenings are free time for volunteers on all programs to unwind from the excitement of the week. Some students head to the beach or hang out at the local cafe for a laid-back atmosphere, but those looking for more excitement can certainly find it in and around Chintsa. All bookings can be made on arrival.
- Horse Riding - Take a leisurely ride from the bush to the beach and support our local equine rescue and rehabilitation center (3 Hours).
- Surf Lessons - Learn to ride the waves on the beautiful Chintsa Beach with a qualified instructor (3 hours).
- Quad Bike Safari Tour - Ride through the game reserve on your own ATV and see wildlife from a whole new perspective (1 or 2 hours)
- Zipline Tours - Fly through the game reserve over 10 zip lines up to 153m long and 70m high (2 hours)
- Kayaking/Canoeing - Take a leisurely paddle through the game reserve and enjoy the scenery (half day)
- Abseiling - Repel down the cliffs of the Areena game reserve to really get your adrenaline pumping (1 hour)
- Spa Treatments - Think you deserve some pampering after running around in the bush all week? Head to Crawford’s Spa to release that tension and start the next week rested and refreshed.
- Brewery Tour - Visit our local brewery, learn about the brewing process and even stay for lunch.
- Volleyball - Join the locals in a friendly game or grab some friends and start your own match.
Want to see more of South Africa? Use the weekend to explore the Eastern Cape, Wild Coast, or even Cape Town by rental car or Baz Bus. All bookings can be made on arrival.
- Addo Elephant National Park - Visit the third largest National Park in South Africa and see some of the country’s most amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
- Hogsback Mountain Village - J. R. R. Tolkien’s inspiration for The Lord of the Rings’ fantasy world “Middle-earth”.
- Inkwenkwezi - Spend a night or two at a local game reserve with game drives, quad biking, canoeing, and great food!
- Shark Cage Diving - Get up close and personal with some great white sharks for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s sure to get your blood pumping.
- Bungee Jumping - If you’re an adrenaline junky, head to the Bloukrans Bridge for the tallest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world.
- Sky Diving - There’s no better place to jump out of a plane than over the beautiful Garden Route.
- Cango Caves - Walk and climb through this natural landmark to experience one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations.
- Sandboarding - When in Africa… ride the dune!
- Cape Town - Climb Table Mountain (or take the cable car) | See Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island | Take a wine-tasting tour | Experience night life on Long Street | Waddle down to the penguin colony | Have breakfast and shop at the V&A Waterfront | And a lot more!
Please submit an application for this program below. Our team will contact you with more information within 72 hours- if you don’t hear from us, please check your spam folder!