With BVOL, you'll work across different Game Reserves, each unique in their own way.
You'll work with a professional team (who are supported by WWF amongst others), with Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Black Rhino, as well as priority species like Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo. Experience genuine conservation work and find out what Africa is really about.
Work on one, two, three or all four of the Game Reserves, depending on how long your placement is for. You'll gain a wealth of conservation knowledge and experience working under qualified conservation experts and on location out in the bush on a daily basis. You'll experience Africa in a way that no mere tourist can!
You can join the expedition for a minimum of 2 weeks: For every 2 weeks spent on this expedition, you will experience a different game reserve.
2 weeks = you'll experience 1 reserve.
4 weeks = experience 2 reserves.
6 weeks = 3 reserves. 8 weeks = all 4 reserves.
If you come for 4 or 6 weeks you can choose which reserves to join.
The experience you'll gain on this project is varied and fascinating. You'll be the Wildlife Monitor's right hand, assisting with all aspects of their conservation activities. As one of only 4 team members, you form an agile and efficient team, working out in the bush every day:
Daily tracking and locating of Priority Species wildlife from an open 4x4 vehicle, via radio telemetry.
Mapping the sightings using GPS equipment. You will be taught how to use the equipment.
Observing animal behaviour (e.g. Wild Dog pack dynamics) for research purposes.
Photographing and creating identity kits for any reintroduced/relocated animals.
Periodically setting up camera traps at watering holes and game trails.
Assisting with ongoing game counts.
A typical day would look something like this:
Rise with sun and head out (seated on the back of the open 4x4 tracking vehicle) to locate the Endangered Species animals that the wildlife monitor has earmarked for the morning, using radio telemetry equipment that receives radio signal from the collars which are fitted onto the Priority Species animals.
You will usually be back by late morning to prepare some lunch and have a little time to relax, read, have a nap or watch the abundant bird and animal life which occurs around the camp.
You head out again on the vehicle between 2-3pm to follow up on those animals which were not located in the morning, such as Elephant and Rhino.
You should be back in camp shortly after sunset, to start preparing supper and sit around the fire listening to the sounds of the bush and discussing the day's events. Usually you will be in bed early, but on some nights volunteers may go out to track species like the Hyaena, which are active at night.
At least once a week you will have an afternoon or day set aside for administrative work: (data capture and analysis). Appropriate supervision and instruction will be provided for all elements of your practical experience.
Activities that you could participate in, that occur when the need arises, are:
Radio collaring of animals.Notching (identity marking) of animals such as Rhino.Night-time tracking excursions – for example HyaenasRelocation or re-introduction of Endangered Species.Assisting with feeding and data recording of animals being held in temporary bomas prior to releaseVulture counts and nest surveys.Bird ringing & alien plant control
Please note: Activities such as collaring, relocation/ reintroduction, identity marking, snare removal, tranquilisation for treatment, etc., happens throughout the year, strictly as the need arises. While the project does plan and follow basic schedules, the nature of the work being done here dictates that the animals and their environment are our first priority, and therefore our schedules do occasionally have to be altered due to unforeseen circumstances or incidents, as we have little control over the dynamics of wild animals and their environment.
There is always a lot going on here and you will have the opportunity to be a part of a professional conservation team, make a real difference and contribute towards important conservation work and research in Africa!