Wildlife Management & Vet Experience
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.
This program is now accepting applications for 2024
2-week session: $3,000 USD
Departure2024 sessions: June 10-24, July 1-15, July 22-Aug 5 | 2025 sessions: May 12-23, June 16-27, August 11-22
Return TimePre-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 8 interns per session.
IncludedAccommodationAirport TransfersLaundry FacilitiesMealsOn-Site SupportPre-Departure SupportWi-fi
Not IncludedFlightsFree-time ActivitiesTravel InsuranceVisa Fees (if applicable)
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).
- Helicopter Capture
- Curtain Capture
- Net Capture
- Dart Gun Capture
- Passive Capture
- Cage Traps
- 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
- 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: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
- 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!