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Wildlife Management & Vet Experience

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Price South Africa 2 Weeks
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Wildlife Management & Vet Experience

South Africa

This program concentrates on wildlife work in South Africa and the veterinary industry. It has been designed for pre-vet and veterinary students, vet nurses/technicians, veterinarians and anyone seeking hands-on wildlife learning experience. As a participant in this program you can expect to be involved working with wildlife veterinary surgeons, capture teams, rangers, and other professionals in the wildlife field. This is a hands-on program which you can expect to be up close working with and treating African wildlife, from preparation for different capture types right up to immobilization and translocation. This 14-day trip is varied to connect the contrasts of South Africa to give you an insight to what is unique here, taking you behind the scenes in the wildlife field.


Cost

2-week session: $3,000 USD

  • Destination
  • Departure
    2024 sessions: June 10-24, July 1-15, July 22-Aug 5 | 2025 sessions: May 12-23, June 16-27, August 11-22
  • Departure Time
    Wildlife
  • Return Time
    Pre-Vet Students | Vet Students | Vet Techs & Nurses | Vets
  • Dress Code
    Interns 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 8 interns per session.
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Airport Transfers
    Laundry Facilities
    Meals
    On-Site Support
    Pre-Departure Support
    Wi-fi
  • Not Included
    Flights
    Free-time Activities
    Travel Insurance
    Visa Fees (if applicable)
1
Week 1
Saturday/Sunday: Arrival in Port Elizabeth and transfer to Grahamstown Introduction and settle in
Monday:  Program Introduction: Introduction to Capture and Immobilization lecture Anatomy and physiology lecture
Tuesday: Lectures & Practical Dart gun theory and practical. Approach to Animals in the Wild lecture and practical
Wednesday:  Game Capture/Wildlife Work
Thursday:  Set up of passive capture (boma/nets) Pharmacology lecture
Friday:  Passive capture of wildlife
Saturday: Free time
2
Week 2
Sunday: Free time
Monday: Helicopter Darting Capture
Tuesday:  Game Capture/wildlife work
Wednesday: Mass capture/game capture/wildlife work
Thursday: Antiparasitic treatment darting practical
Friday: Wildlife work/game capture Wildlife first aid and rehab lecture/practical
Saturday/Sunday: Free time and transfer to Port Elizabeth

Tour Location

Your accommodation will be in our luxury tented camp to give an in the bush experience on our private game reserve. Tents have an adjacent bathroom and rooms are two people sharing. All the meals and entertainment will be provided in the main lodge. Lunches may be packed for certain days due to being out in the bush.    
      
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Overall Rating

Comments:

  • Alisa

    December 18, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    It was amazing 2 weeks with lots of hands on experience with different wildlife species. There are tons of opportunities to do injections and every day you learn about wildlife veterinary and management. Beckie and Johann are great hosts and have lots of experience with wildlife and medicine. The place is gorgeous and the food is always delicious and you will never go hungry. It was great to make new friends and new memories! I would recommend this to anyone interested in wildlife medicine and adventure 🙂
    June 2023

  • Vicky

    December 18, 2023 at 4:18 pm

    I was lucky enough to be part of this program last month, and I highly recommend it. Beckie and Jo are very knowledgable in their field and you will learn a lot from them. During your stay, you will get hands on experience on various wildlife species, learn different techniques to locate, approach, capture and relocate them and will learn more about products and medication that are used on all sorts of wildlife. Also, students’ safety is taken very seriously, and I felt safe at all times, even around more dangerous animals. The living accommodations and meals are wonderful, and you will be treated as a king! Overall a fantastic experience, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in wildlife medicine and conservation.
    August 2023

  • Pamela

    December 18, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    The end of my wildlife adventure! I have discovered with even 3 months training, I can’t run as fast as a 20 year old, or vault into the back of a trailer gracefully. But I learnt that adrenaline is a natural painkiller and distraction from aging. What a rush to have done it all!!! I have been up close and personal with at least TEN species of magnificent African mammals (I might have forgotten some – I’m old you know). I’m glad I got to finally work with African wildlife as a vet – even if it did take 60 years!
    July 2022

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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, providing treatments 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).
*Please note: This is a physically demanding session- volunteers will not be asked to perform tasks outside of their comfort zone, but they should be prepared to be active most of the day.
Types of Capture:
  • Helicopter Capture
  • Curtain Capture
  • Net Capture
  • Dart Gun Capture
  • Passive Capture
  • Cage Traps
Lecture & Discussion Topics:
  • Safety protocols during game capture
  • Pharmacology (species-specific tranquilizers)
  • Species identification and herd monitoring
  • 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
  • Ticks and tick borne diseases
There are many reasons that an animal might need to be captured, including:
    • 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.

Free-Time Activities:

Weekend Activities and Trips include:

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.  All bookings can be made on arrival.
  • Addo Elephant National Park
  • Big 5 Safaris
  • Zip-lining
  • Canoe River Trail
  • Beach Horseback riding
  • Elephant feeding/interaction
  • Beach Day
  • Surfing lessons
  • Sand boarding
  • Whale watching
  • Cultural tour and museums
  • Gorge hike (bush paintings and waterfall)
  • Hike and picnic
  • Many 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!

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