Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer
2 - 12 weeks
Up to 12 people
2 - 12 weeks
Up to 12 people
What's the project about?
The wildlife centre is Malawi’s only animal sanctuary, with a focus on rescue and rehabilitation. Working alongside a resident team of expert wildlife vets, the sanctuary volunteers get involved with all aspects of animal care, learning new skills and gaining practical experience. Join the animal care team, where work covers the whole rehabilitation spectrum and a range of small animals and birds.
How will I be contributing?
Sanctuary volunteer duties include animal husbandry (cleaning, feeding and enrichment), orphan care, veterinary clinic support and animal observations. Volunteers also get involved with animal integrations, reintroductions and release strategies – the most rewarding part of any stay, as wildlife are released, safe and well, back into their natural environment. Get your hands dirty, work hard and make new animal friends!
What makes this project ethical?
Join an organisation internationally recognised for its work to protect Malawi’s wildlife. Then sanctuary is focused on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and is widely reputed to be one of the best facilities in Africa for responsible wildlife care and rehabilitation. You can be confident you are joining a genuinely ethical, high impact project, where you will learn best practice from conservation experts.
Join an acclaimed team, experienced in wildlife releases, live in the Warm Heart of Africa and wake up to the sounds of the African bush!
Hands-off wildlife policy
This project prides itself on its hands-off approach to animal care, so that wildlife stands the best chance of successful release. However, when volunteers look after baby and young orphaned animals, your skills as a surrogate parent will undoubtedly be called into play!
Note that animal care activities will depend on what animals and orphans are at the sanctuary at the time.
Volunteers play an essential role in the daily care of the sanctuary’s animals and may get involved with some or all of the following activities:
- Prepare meals for animals on a daily basis, and feed during the day (and night!);
- Find food for younger animals (you may need to forage for grasshoppers for a pygmy hedgehog!);
- Help care for orphaned animals, primates and birds;
- Learn about successful rehabilitation and release methods;
- Clean out enclosures and feeding pens;
- Learn about the human-wildlife conflict and how individual animals were brought to the sanctuary;
- Help settle newly rescued animals into groups or into their rehabilitation enclosures;
- Quietly observe sick, distressed and injured wildlife who need close monitoring;
- Orphaned babies may also need intensive care such as bottle feeding, observation and interaction.
- Assist the on-site vet in basic surgical procedures on all sorts of animals from hedgehogs to zebra and barn owls!
- Assist with vaccinations and health checks for new arrivals.
If you are studying Veterinary Medicine then you will have priority when helping on veterinary procedures and operations
Behaviour and habitat enrichment:
A critical volunteer role is to enrich the lives of the animals who cannot be released, enable them to live as natural a life as possible, and behave as closely as they would in the wild.
- Build activity centres for baboons and primates to enable them run, jump and climb
- Make toys for the baboons to stimulate foraging
- Work with animals who are not current candidates for release due to mental or physical issues
Rehabilitation and release:
Releases done by this sanctuary have been highly acclaimed, thanks to the expertise and effort which goes into the rehabilitation process and subsequent release. Volunteers are crucial to this process from rehabilitation, through monitoring and subsequent release.
- Help with pre-release monitoring to ensure animals are fit to be released;
- Settle new arrivals and rehabilitated animals into new groups and monitor their progress.
Activities around the sanctuary and game reserve:
- Monitor free-roaming animals within the 400 acre reserve (on foot, by vehicle and on horseback);
- Build and repair enclosures and fences;
- Dig new waterholes, build and maintain roads and paths, make signs and other building work around the sanctuary.
Volunteers are encouraged to spend time with local people, helping children understand the importance of protecting the wildlife and their environment.
- Help with guided tours and show children animals they may have never seen before;
- Visit rural communities and engage with them about wildlife;
- Get involved with tree planting projects;
- Help with community development initiatives such as fuel briquette projects to reduce the loss of animal habitats from the selling and burning of firewood.
If you have a passion for education and children and would like to participate on the community side as well as with the animals, please let us know – there is always useful and interesting work to get involved with.
Your days will be full and activities will depend on how long you are staying and what animals are at the sanctuary. If you are staying two weeks then you may be asked to focus on one area rather than spending a little time on many different projects.
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