"Hike and explore you're way into carnivore conservation, you'll learn a thing or two for sure!"
They say a leopard never changes its spots, but will you change yours in the name of big cat conservation? Leopards (along with cheetahs) are declining fast as these predators have perhaps bitten off more than they can chew when it comes to interacting with local farmers, becoming somewhat unruly neighbours... If we are to ensure that these graceful carnivores continue to stalk the African savannahs long into the future then intervention is required – and that is just what this Carnivore Conservation and Research project hopes to achieve.
You will be based in the heart of Namibia, working towards protecting these big cats by using modern conservation practices. As a volunteer, your time will be divided between two main activities: firstly, assisting the conservation team with tracking and monitoring the local leopards and cheetahs – you’ll be off on an African adventure! Secondly, you will spend time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary looking after its residents, varying from baboons to lions. You will come in handy as an 'extra pair of hands' on-site, helping with maintenance and construction tasks as well as some one-on-one interactions with the sanctuary's animal tenants. These carnivores need you, so why not roar into action and help save them now!
Both leopards and cheetahs have been categorised as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, as the issues that affect their survival prevail, their futures may soon be in further doubt. The most significant of these issues is the problem of human-wildlife conflict, a threat that is increasingly problematic in developing countries such as Namibia. Agriculture in these countries is difficult enough due to lack of investment and climate change, and so the predation of valuable livestock by big cats is hardly taken lightly and can lead to the frequent persecution of predators by farmers. Despite the vast expanses of natural parks in Namibia, huge populations of these carnivores persist outside of protected areas which means that they are both harder to research and ultimately protect - a great concern for conservationists.
However, the work undertaken throughout this project seeks to rectify these worsening issues. By tracking and monitoring species, valuable data can be collected regarding leopards and cheetahs (for example their distribution and their diets). This information can be passed on to farmers to help educate them about predator tolerance or, in extreme circumstances, can be used to influence policy decisions regarding translocations of ‘trouble animals’. The sanctuary itself is not intended to be a permanent accommodation solution, merely a facility to research further as well as rehabilitate its residents ready for reintroduction. This ensures that the wildlife stays wild as much as possible and that individual animals can be rescued and cared for appropriately.
Arrival Day: You will arrive at Windhoek airport before making a quick transfer to the wildlife sanctuary (a journey of about 45 minutes, so nothing arduous). The afternoon and evening are reserved for you to get to know the project facilitators and the other volunteers who will be participating on this project.
Sanctuary days: The project begins in entertaining fashion – looking after the residents of the sanctuary! Your work will vary between manual site maintenance (including constructing enclosures or repairing fences) and animal care (including feeding the big cats and some hands-on time with some of the more tame animals).
Transfer day: Don’t panic, you will be back. This day is devoted to travelling from the sanctuary to the research facility in Neuras. No hard work for today – just enjoy the view as you go along your journey.
Research days: Take a walk (or a drive) on the wild side! Using telemetry, you will try to locate big cats in order to gather the all-important data required. Be it by foot or by truck, this is an opportunity to admire the majesty of the wilds of Namibia.
Return transfer day: Another hard working day ahead, another long trip back to the sanctuary, but not soon enough – I’m sure the animals have missed you!
Final sanctuary day: All good things must come to an end so this will be your last opportunity to feed the lions, care for the caracals and monkey around with the baby baboons.
Departure day: Say your 'farewells' to the sanctuary before heading back to the airport to commence your onward travel plans.
The rate shown is a 'from' price per person
Click 'Ask a Question' to enquire about full project dates, availability and costs
To secure a place on this project a 20% deposit is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
A contribution to the project itself including funding for items such as building materials, food, animal medications, tracking equipment etc
Transfers to and from the airport
Transfers to and from Neuras
Full orientation and support from the project managers for the duration of your project
Accommodation, three meals per day and tea and coffee
Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
Use of telephone
Soft and alcoholic beverages
Anything else not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question' to chat directly to the operator!