Join the World renowned conservation organization Wildlife ACT in conducting REAL RESEARCH for REAL SOLUTIONS in SOUTH AFRICA
Wildlife ACT was founded and has always existed to support real conservation work where it is needed most. Numerous game reserves within South Africa cannot lack the budget or staff to fund a dedicated monitoring team within their boundaries. Wildlife ACT has come to these reserves with the goal of providing wildlife monitoring services, free of charge, in order to ensure the safety of endangered species.
Wildlife ACT works on five different game reserves in which their work has been approved and contracted directly by the management authority of each reserve, to perform this critical and essential conservation work for those reserves, at no cost to the reserves.
Getting involved with Wildlife ACT means that you can actively help endangered species conservation. The reserves on which we work mainly focus on research into African wild dogs, cheetah, black Rhino ,and vultures; however, elephant, lion, leopard and white rhino are also monitored.
Volunteers will assist a wildlife monitor in all daily aspects of monitoring, including (where necessary):
Depending on how long you join our team for and which time of year you visit, you could be fortunate enough to participate in one of the following activities, which occur strictly as and when the need arises:
We cannot guarantee what activities will be happening during the time you are with us; our volunteers agree to help out where the Reserve Management identify a particular need. As mentioned, the primary focus of our teams is to provide the essential monitoring service for these wildlife reserves, and that does take up the majority of our time.
Each game reserve has a different focus regarding the work performed. While the project plans and follows basic schedules, the nature of the work dictates that the animals and their environment are our main priority, and therefore our schedules may at times have to be altered due to unforeseen circumstances or incidents within this wild and dynamic environment.
Volunteers leave camp at dawn (just before sunrise), seated on bench-seats on the back of the open 4x4 tracking vehicle. The team will 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. Once the team has successfully sighted the animals, you will observe them for as long as necessary, record the data and then move on the next animal/species on the daily monitoring schedule.
Each day you will have time during the midday period when it is hot and most animals are inactive. During these midday hours, you are welcome to read, sleep, eat, play cards or board games, or simply enjoy the animal and bird activity within and around your accommodation.
You head out again in the vehicle between 2-3pm to follow up on those animals which were not located in the morning. 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 spotted hyenas, which are active at night.
At least once a week, you will have a day set aside for assessing the data you collected. This is an important part of the monitoring process, as this valuable information has numerous management applications ranging from the planning of successful introduction or removal strategies of priority wildlife species to informing the local conservation authorities about regional biodiversity.
Every day in the bush is different. We have a saying here: "This is Zululand, not Disneyland!" Some days you could try very hard to find certain animals, and not see them – other days, you could go looking for certain animals, and end up seeing all “Big Five” in one morning. There are no guarantees! Some days can be a stretch and even laborious at times, like when we track one animal for a whole day, and cover large distances without success.
This is not a safari operation, and we don’t want to romanticize the work we perform. It’s not always pretty or easy, but it is always exciting and wonderful to be out in the beautiful reserve, enjoying the sights and smells of the bush, and knowing you are being part of something significant.
Should you choose to join us, our bookings run in multiples of 2 weeks, which means you can join us for 2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 weeks etc.
The opportunity to work on multiple Reserves depends on the length of your stay. If you stay for only 2 weeks, you will work on 1 Reserve, but for every additional 2 weeks you stay, the better your chance of experiencing another Reserve.
The earlier you make your booking, the better the chance of you being placed on the Reserve of your choice. Once bookings fill up, placements will be made based on where there are spaces available.
We trust that our participants will be understanding of this, and willing to help wherever there is a need.
Since the nature of our work is dependent on the specific needs of the animals at any given time, these placements are subject to change - should the need arise.
Wildlife ACT projects are located across 5 different Game Reserves in Zululand, Northern KwaZulu-Natal:
§ Tembe National Elephant Park
§ Mkhuze Game Reserve
§ Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
§ Somkhanda Game Reserve
§ Zululand Rhino Reserve
$1575 First 2 weeks
$1125 Every following 2 weeks
$150 Transport fee to/from airport to research sites