Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
2 - 12 weeks
20 - 65 people
2 - 12 weeks
20 - 65 people
What's the project about?
The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary was established to improve the lives of Namibia’s animals and create an Africa where humans and wildlife thrive together. The 8,000 acre wildlife sanctuary and game reserve is a safe haven for orphaned and injured animals, with a focus on rehabilitation and release. Residents include leopards, cheetahs, African wild dogs, primates, antelopes and a variety of other wild and domestic animals. In the reserve you will find free-roaming elephants, rhinos and lions. Wildlife sanctuary volunteers are vital to the future work of the sanctuary.
How will I be contributing?
As a wildlife sanctuary volunteer you play a vital role in supporting local staff in all aspects of animal care. This includes enriching the lives of long-term residents and rehabilitating those who will be released. Volunteers are responsible for daily food preparation and feeding, habitat enrichment, orphan care and health checks. You will also be very involved with large animal research projects – tracking and monitoring elephants and rhinos and going on game counts on foot, by vehicle and on horseback.
What makes this project ethical?
The sanctuary has strong ethics regarding captive animal welfare. Large carnivores are not handled, and no breeding of carnivores is allowed, under Namibian law. Carnivores earmarked for release have limited human contact, to avoid habituation that could threaten a successful release. Animals finding a permanent home at the sanctuary are provided with enrichment activities crucial to their emotional and physical well-being and, where possible, animals are released into suitable natural habitats.
Turn your holiday into an adventure! Get your hands dirty and get involved with a huge range of activities, working with many small and large African animals.
This project gets deep into the heart of volunteers, with many returning time and time again, or even becoming staff and never really leaving.
As a wildlife sanctuary volunteer, you are critical to the work the sanctuary is doing, enabling the long term care of the animals and their rehabilitation or release.
As a wildlife sanctuary volunteer, you are involved with a diverse variety of tasks, including:
Volunteers play an essential role in the daily care of the sanctuary’s animals, which includes preparing food and feeding the animals, as well as cleaning and maintaining enclosures. This is a messy but satisfying part of your day!
- Assist with daily food collection, preparation and small animal feeding
- Carnivore feeding
- Cleaning and maintaining enclosures and pens.
- Providing intensive care for baby and juvenile animals
- Learn about the human-wildlife conflict and why individual animals were brought to the sanctuary
- Help rehabilitate animals who can one day be released back into the wild
- Work with a range of species including zebra, ostrich, owls, raptors and bush babies, plus domestic animals, reptiles and birds
Habitat and Behaviour enrichment:
An important wildlife sanctuary volunteer role is to enrich the lives of animals unable to be released, give them as natural a life as possible and enable them to behave close to how they would in the wild.
- Build toys, platforms, playgrounds and other enrichment facilities
- Engage and interact with juvenile monkeys and baboons who cannot be released
- Work with animals who cannot be released due to mental or physical issues
- Help with cheetah enrichment runs to stimulate natural behaviours such as sprinting and chasing
- Learn about cheetah physiology
Maintenance and Repair
- Build and repair enclosures and fences
- Breaking down old structures
- Dig trenches for new water pipes
- Help dig new waterholes and repair erosion
- Paint and decorate at the school
Horse riding (optional):
Border patrols, fence monitoring, game counts and animal monitoring are often done on horseback, so there is plenty of opportunity to get into the saddle and explore the beautiful Namibian bush.
Community outreach (optional):
As a wildlife sanctuary volunteer, you can choose to get involved at the sanctuary’s local San Bushmen primary school, where culture and conservation come together. The school students are the children of the families who live and work at on the reserve. After Grade 3 (age 9), the children are sponsored to attend mainstream primary school in Windhoek.
- Help the teachers with new activities such as crafts, music and dance
- Help in the playground and with sports and games
- Help with maintenance and cleaning around the school
- Go with the children as they attend the San skills academy, to learn stories and ancient Bushmen skills
If you have a passion for education and children and would like to participate full-time in the school programme for some or all of your stay, please let us know. There is a 4-week minimum stay for full-time participation at the school. Full-time is 5 days per week (Monday-Friday).
Full time school volunteers will get involved with:
- Classroom assistance, handing out of assignments, tidying up and making resources
- Child management e.g. leading / assisting children with proper conduct when (for example) going to the bathroom, tying their shoes, washing hands after playtime etc.
- Quietly and respectfully listening to and observing the teacher’s lessons, using this opportunity to learn
- Creating lesson plans and presenting lessons
- Extra-curricular activities, even those which might occur over specified weekends
Please enquire for more details!
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