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  • Welcome to
    Wildlife Veterinary Assistance

3 weeks 24.295 DKK / 3,800 USD

Reservation for
Wildlife Veterinary Assistance

Wildlife Veterinary Assistance

  • About

    This program is designed for qualified veterinarians, people who are in the process of becoming veterinarians (with preference given to students with a minimum three years of schooling), or veterinary nurses who want to gain hands-on experience with the facets of wildlife capture and veterinary procedures. Others may be considered, depending on experience.

    This exciting project will give you experiences no book can match. You’ll improve your confidence and skills in handling wildlife, your ability to think on your feet and your ability to handle difficult (and sometimes unplanned) situations. Our vets and facilitators teach from their own experience with passion and a contagious love for what they do.

    You will learn about, and participate in, the treatment of animals for injuries and diseases and taking DNA samples for research. You will also be involved in capture operations for population management and to support genetic diversity.

  • Activities

    Theoretical:

    • Legal and ethical considerations while doing wildlife work in South Africa
    • Basic physiology
    • Basic and applied pharmacology
    • Stress and capture-related animal death
    • Safety and first aid in the field
    • Principles of chemical and physical restraint of wild animals
    • Helicopter-use in wildlife work
    • Chemical immobilization and drug-injecting equipment
    • Ballistics and projectile darting systems
    • Dart projectors and other restraint tools
    • Ancillary treatment in wildlife capture and care
    • Capture and transport of wildlife animals
    • Post-capture boma management

    Practical:

    • Basic rifle operation and safety
    • Dart gun target practice and virtual darting simulations
    • Radio communication and telemetry training to track collared animals
    • Roping of animals such as giraffe and rhino
    • Injections SQ/IM/IV
    • Pre-capture planning exercises
    • Loading and unloading of animals
    • Record-keeping exercises for DNA, tags, horn measurements, etc.
    • Helicopter orientation and darting a moving target from a helicopter

    The first week is usually busy, with the main goal being to equip you and your fellow students with the necessary knowledge and practical training to do field work in your second and third weeks at the project. To that end, you’ll attend lots of lectures from wildlife experts and veterinarians in the mornings. Your afternoons will be filled with practical training, exercises and field simulations.

    During your second and third weeks, you’ll do game capture work while continuing your training with lectures about wildlife management. You’ll be involved in injections and captures, handling the animals themselves. You’ll also get to witness surgeries and spays on mostly domesticated animals.

    Weekends are free for you to explore! Most volunteers visit nearby game reserves or the main tourist attractions on the Garden Route.

     

    Activities available at additional costs:

    During your stay you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some of the incredible attractions the Garden Route has to offer. These excursions offer time for participants to interact with and get to know one another.

    • Go tandem sky-diving in Mossel Bay or Plettenberg Bay
    • Take a tour of the Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn’s underground caverns
    • Go bungee-jumping
    • Take a Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour
    • Go cage diving with sharks
    • Take a whale watching boat trip (available from July to October)
    • Encounters a cheetah at Cango Wildlife Ranch
    • Go swimming with seals
  • Location

    This project is set against the majestic Langeberg mountain range on the world-famous Garden Route in South Africa. This route is renowned for its spectacular scenery, mild climate, pristine coastline, winding rivers, sky-scraping indigenous forests and amazing wildlife.
  • Facilities

    You will live in an amazing, big house that was built in 1890, making it one of the first in the area. The house is in the Goedemoed Game Reserve, opposite the Hartenbos Private Game Reserve and 14 kilometres (8.6 miles) north of Hartenbos.

    The house has three big bedrooms that hold four beds each. There are two bathrooms and an extra shower outside, all with hot water.

    From the garden you can spot sable antelope, giraffe, wildebeest and other antelope species while the sounds of zebra are carried by the wind!

    • Laundry

      Laundry service is provided once per week, the cost of which is included in your project fee. Students are asked to keep their rooms tidy and their belongings together in their allocated space.

    • Food & Meals

      In-house chefs will cook three fresh meals for you each day. We can cater to most types of dietary needs, but please make sure to inform us of any restrictions when you make your reservation. There is a cosy kitchen, where breakfast is served self-service. Lunch is usually served outside in the communal braai (barbecue) area or packed to grab-and-go. Dinner is served in the warm kitchen or outside, at the fire.
      Drinking water and tea or coffee will also be available throughout your stay. Cold drinks can be purchased at the house.

    • Internet & Phone Reception

      Wi-Fi is available at your accommodation, but the connection is limited. You won’t be able to stream movies or download large files.

      Cell phone reception is available. Check with your service provider for costs or purchase a local SIM card at the airport.

    • Credit Cards & Cash

      You can use credit and debit cards in restaurants, in shops and to pay for activities in South Africa. However, we recommend you bring cash (South African rand) in small bills to pay for snacks and drinks on-site.

    • Shops

      The nearest shop is a 15- to 20-minute drive from the project.

  • Travel info

    This page will guide you on how to book your flights, how transportation to and from the project works and which vaccinations are required for your trip.

    • Flight Itinerary

      Flights booked to George Airport (GRJ) should arrive between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a Sunday.
      Your return flight should depart GRJ after 9 a.m. on a Saturday.

    • Airport transfer

      You will be picked up and dropped off at the airport by a representative from the project. The cost of shared transportation to and from the airport is included.

    • Vaccinations

      We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before your trip. Below is an overview of vaccinations that are likely to be recommended:

      Tetanus: Recommended
      Polio: Recommended
      Hepatitis A & B: Recommended
      Typhoid: Recommended
      Malaria: The project is not in a malaria risk zone
    • Visa

      People from most countries will automatically get tourist visas valid for up to 90 days upon arrival in South Africa. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your country, please see the government’s list of exempt countries: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas

  • FAQ

    • Do I need any qualification to join the project?

      Yes. This program is designed for qualified veterinarians, people who are in the process of becoming veterinarians (with preference given to students with a minimum three years of schooling), or veterinary nurses who want to gain hands-on experience with the facets of wildlife capture and veterinary procedures. Others may be considered, depending on experience.

    • How much pocket money should I bring?

      You can budget to spend between $500 and $600 for three weeks. You can use major credit and debit cards in restaurants, in shops and to pay for activities in South Africa.

    • Are there ATMs available?

      There are plenty of ATMs but it’s important to note that you may be charged for withdrawing cash.

    • Is there a transfer to and from the project sites?

      Yes. The cost of daily transfers between projects sites is included.

    • Do I need vaccinations?

      We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before your trip. Below is an overview of vaccinations that are likely to be recommended:

      Tetanus: Recommended
      Polio: Recommended
      Hepatitis A & B: Recommended
      Typhoid: Recommended
      Malaria: The project is not in a malaria risk zone

    • Do I need a Visa?

      People from most countries will automatically get tourist visas valid for up to 90 days upon arrival in South Africa. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your country, please see the government’s list of exempt countries: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas

  • Reviews

    ”One of the best time of my life. People are amazing. All of the staff are so so so friendly that makes you feel absolutely welcome from the first minute you enter SA. All the volunteers are great and friendly. Couldn't ask for a better first experience in here.”
    Leonard, Australia

    “I have had an amazing experience. I have learned so much more than anticipated outside of wildlife photography. My workflow and editing skills have increased as well as learning macro and portrait photography. This is an experience I will never forget.”
    Stacey, USA

    ”This is nothing like paying a lot of money and doing a week long African Safari where you are essentially a tourist looking in from the outside and taking photographs. Here we are involved, we are part of it; with the guides, getting to know them, tracking, learning, sitting around the camp fire, listening to stories and of course taking photographs.
    It’s not a holiday because we work long hours, some of it quite tiring work, and we have deadlines to meet. It’s certainly not work either. It’s a lifetime experience where you become involved, contribute, hopefully do some good, end up with thousands of amazing pictures and memories that will last forever.”
    Kevin, UK

    I was preparing to have an amazing time. However, it didn't prepare me for how truly inspiring and incredible it was going to be. No day is the same, in fact wildly different, one day you are focusing on a tiny insect, the next a huge elephant. I have learnt so much about photography in general that I can use in all kinds of situations from Tim and Sam. I have also gained so much knowledge about the wildlife in Africa from all the guides, the amount of information they hold in their brains really is mind boggling.
    Harriet Scragg, UK

    ”The whole experience has been way more than I expected. The areas we've explored have been beautiful, the wildlife we have seen have been breath-taking and the people working to give us this opportunity have been fantastic.”
    Megan, UK

    ”The photography course offered here was so good and comparing my images from week one to week four is crazy. My photography skills have excelled my own expectations and i can wait to see how they will improve even more when I'm back home with the knowledge I've learnt whilst here.”
    Lizza Doogan, Australia

    ”Travelling to Africa alone and spending a month working as a volunteer is definitely a daunting prospect, but I was amazed at how quickly I felt at home here. Every single member of staff was incredibly nice, outgoing and passionate about what they're doing, the lodge is situated in a perfect location and is far and away more luxurious than other volunteer projects I've been to and the organisation of every week is fantastic. I found the photography course perfectly in line with what I wanted and expected, it was fantastic to be reminded of the basic guides to photography and also to be pushed to experiment and adapt new styles to experiment with. As amazing as it is being able to photograph wildlife several times a week, it was also a breath of fresh air to be able to venture out to other locations (such as Blyde River Canyon, the trash dump and the local school and community projects) that not only gives you a more well-rounded and truthful representation of Africa but also reminds you of how everything is connected; community, wildlife and environment, and how they must all be equally focused upon if any impact is to be made. Not only do I feel as if I'm leaving as a better photographer, but above all that I feel as if I made a difference (or rather, an impact) and it's that feeling that makes me want to come back asap for longer.”
    Samuel, UK

  • Dates & Prices

    Dates (2019): 28th of July or 1st of  September 

    Number of participants: Max 12

    Price (2019):

    3 weeks - 24.295 DKK / 3.800 USD 

     

Why we love it

  • It is a great hands-on experience in all facets of wildlife capture and veterinary procedures 

  • You will receive theoretical and practical knowledge on all aspects of wildlife capture and wildlife medicine

  • Learn about population management, breeding and genetic diversity

  • You will get to experience helicopter orientation and darting a moving target from the helicopter

  • You will get to increase your dart-gun skills via practise and virtual darting simulations and learn about rifle safety and basic operation

  • The project has nice facilities and the helpful staff will take great care of you

  • There are lots of other activities you can book and join in your free time e.g. sky-diving, whale watching or a visit Cape Town

  • You will get to experience this exciting adventure with other international veterinary students

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