Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation
1 - 2 weeks
Up to 4 people
1 - 2 weeks
Up to 4 people
What's the project about?
Imire: Rhino & Wildlife Conservation is dedicated to the protection and security of African wildlife, with particular focus on the endangered black rhino. Their vision is to secure the future of Africa’s natural heritage, taking an integrated approach to conservation. This is achieved through the creation of positive relationships between communities and the wildlife they live beside. Your role as a horse riding volunteer is vital to the security of the reserve and its wildlife.
How will I be contributing?
On our horse riding volunteer programme, equine volunteers will experience the best of our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme, plus contribute to conservancy management and anti-poaching on horseback. As a horse riding volunteer you will go on game counts, search for lost animals, patrol the boundary and interact closely with iconic wildlife. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a vital role in the operation of a rhino conservancy, and become part of a dedicated, passionate conservation family.
What makes this project ethical?
Private conservancies such as Imire, play a vital role in protecting and propagating endangered species. The human-wildlife conflict is possibly the greatest issue currently faced by conservationists. Through volunteering at Imire, you are directly participating in not only the protection of threatened wildlife, but also contributing to a conservation success story – where communities and conservancies peacefully and beneficially co-exist.
Experience a unique side to Africa as you volunteer on horseback. Combine daily horse rides with an integrated approach to endangered wildlife conservation. As a horse riding volunteer you work closely with local employees and community members, and play a key role in protecting the resident elephant and rhino.
Horse riding volunteering at Imire is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a new country and culture, and experience day-to-day life in Africa. In return you will contribute to an important conservation cause. The experience will be life-changing.
Horse riding volunteers are involved with a variety of tasks, which include opportunities to:
- Get involved with conservancy monitoring and maintenance – horses being an ideal partner in environmental management
- Work closely alongside rhinos, elephants and an abundance of other wildlife
- Participate in horseback snare patrols and anti-poaching activities
- Participate in a wide range of conservation activities including game counts, wildlife research and animal tracking
- Educate local school children about conservation, wildlife and the environment
- Educate yourself about wildlife conservation and the threats to African wildlife, and experience first-hand the immense undertaking of managing a wildlife conservancy
Equine volunteers will ride for approximately 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, and enjoy daily interactions with the conservancy’s flagship species.
A horse riding volunteer will usually get involved in some or all of the following activities:
Rhino and Elephant conservation:
- Collect observational data on rhino and elephant behaviour, health, movements, interactions and browsing activities
- Ride alongside the rhinos and elephants while you carry out your data gathering
- Learn from experienced handlers about the challenges these animals face to survive
- Repair elephant damage
- Cut browse for night time feeds
- Learn to use telemetry and identify rhino tracks and signs in the bush
- Maintenance of rhino and elephant beds
Anti-poaching and security
- Monitor inaccessible areas of the conservancy to check for evidence of poaching or security breaches
- Check, secure and repair boundary fences
- Conduct weapons training and anti-poaching simulations
- Participate in camp-outs and night patrols
Conservancy management on horseback
- Deliver feed and nutritional supplements around the conservancy, focusing on sable, giraffe, lion, elephants and buffalo
- Undertake game counts and herd studies on horseback
- Locate new mothers and check on babies
- Carry out indigenous tree planting, and invasive and alien species removal
- Maintain fences, roads, fireguards and equipment
Cattle mustering on horseback
The reserve has a dedicated cattle team who look after the 800 resident cows and bulls. Horse riding volunteers will join the team to help ensure the cattle are in good health.
- Move cattle to different sections of the farm
- Undertake inspections to check for injuries, pests and pregnancy
- Assist with rounding up cattle for weekly dipping
Imire has been closely involved with the Wedza community since its foundation. Community engagement is the essence of sustainable conservation, and Imire has been a long-time champion of local employment, education, healthcare and poverty alleviation projects. Volunteers will get involved with:
- Education projects focusing on English literacy and conservation education
- Organic gardening and tree planting
- Homework and computer training for older children and adults
- Cultural exchange experiences through home visits, and Shona culture evenings
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