Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
2 - 12 weeks
Monday / Thursday
15 - 50 people
2 - 12 weeks
Mon / Thurs
Mon / Thurs
15 - 50 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 leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, primates, antelopes and a variety of other wild and domestic animals of all shapes and sizes. 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 to support local staff in all aspects of animal care. This includes enriching the lives of long-term residents, and rehabilitating those who will be released. Only animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. 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 released animals and going on game counts.
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, in accordance with Namibian law. Carnivores ear-marked 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 a number of 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.
This is so much more than just a wildlife sanctuary project. You will have the chance to go into the main 8,000 acre reserve, home to wild lions, elephants, African wild dogs and rhinos and take part in monitoring activities of these high profile endangered animals.
Sanctuary volunteers are involved with a diverse variety of tasks, including:
Volunteers are critical to the daily care and feeding of animals in rehabilitation or permanent care:
- 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
- Work with a range of species including zebra, ostrich, owls, raptors and bush babies, plus a range of domestic animals and birds
An important wildlife sanctuary volunteer role is to enrich the lives of animals unable to be released, and ensure they are able to enjoy as natural a life as possible.
- Build toys, platforms, playgrounds and other enrichment facilities
- Engage and interact with juvenile monkeys and baboons
- Work with animals who cannot be released due to mental or physical issues
- Cheetah run observation and learning about cheetah physiology
Focused research activities around the 8,000 acre reserve:
- Monitoring free-roaming carnivores including cheetahs, leopard and African wild dog
- Spoor tracking of reserve animals – join skilled trackers in rhino tracking and the monitoring of African wild dogs, lion and elephants
- Undertake game counts of free roaming plains game on foot and on horseback.
- Analysing camera traps and GPS data
- Attending conflict calls with the wildlife rescue team
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 in the school programme for some or all of your stay, please let us know. There is a 2 week minimum participation at the school.
Large Carnivore Conservation and Research Programme – add-on
The Foundation has two carnivore research sites in the beautiful Namibian desert which focus on carnivore monitoring, particularly of cheetah and hyena. Volunteers have a unique opportunity to visit one or both of these sites during your time in Namibia. At both projects you will monitor the large carnivores in the area, helping to mitigate the human-wildlife conflict.
You will get field experience and be involved in all aspects of the permanent research programme, including:
- Capture mark release
- Radio telemetry tracking
- Game counts
- Camera trapping
- Mapping the terrain and environment (lots of hiking in vast landscapes!)
- Cheetah feeding
- Night drives and camp-outs
Click for more details of our Carnivore Conservation Programme, and see the Rates and Dates tab for combination pricing details.
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