Wildlife Research Volunteer
2 weeks - 12 months
Up to 5 people
2 - 12 weeks
Up to 5 people
What's the project about?
Our wildlife research volunteer placement focuses on monitoring species of special concern in beautiful Liwonde National Park. You’ll study iconic and endangered species such as lions, cheetahs and elephants, and collect data that will directly inform long term conservation strategies.
How will I be contributing?
Wildlife research volunteers are based at Liwonde National Park. You will get involved with tracking large carnivores or elephants, assisting on camera trap surveys and recording opportunistic sightings. Working as part of a team, you’ll learn how to conduct radio tracking, animal ID and data entry. You’ll also experience truly unique moments as you learn more about individual wild animals.
What makes this project ethical?
Malawi’s research projects are designed to improve conservation knowledge and practice and include issues such as biodiversity monitoring and wildlife management. This means that wildlife research volunteers not only have the opportunity to spend time out in the field learning new skills but also contribute to research that makes a real difference, helping inform, guide and evaluate ongoing conservation actions in Malawi.
Malawi’s wildlife research projects cover a range of issues. You will have the chance to partake in specific research projects, whether it be radio tracking large carnivores, assisting on camera trap surveys or creating identification kits for elephants.
You will learn first-hand about various conservation techniques and initiatives which are crucial to protection Africa’s wildlife and wilderness areas.
Wildlife research volunteers choosing the Liwonde National Park placement will get involved with a number of important biodiversity monitoring projects.
What will I be doing?
Based in Liwonde National Park and working in partnership with African Parks, you’ll collect data that will enable park management to take informed conservation action for species of special concern (e.g. lions, cheetahs, hyenas, pangolins, vultures, leopards and wild dogs).
Field work is intensive and requires early starts, long days and a lot of patience! You will get involved with tracking focus species, checking camera traps and recording sitings of all wildlife. You will undoubtedly witness unique and special wildlife moments – such as the take-over of a pride by a new male lion; watching a female cheetah teaching her cubs how to hunt; or observing the dynamics between vultures and predators at a carcass.
You may get involved with some or all of the following activities:
- Camera trapping
- VHF tracking of cheetahs, lions and other species
- Behavioural observations of cheetah, lions and elephants
- Develop ID kits for elephants, hyenas, cheetah, lions and servals
- Vulture and lovebird road counts
- Vegetation surveys
- Carnivore surveys
- Data entry and GIS mapping
By the end of your stay in Liwonde you will be skilled in mammal identification, radio tracking, camera trapping and data entry, and you will have learnt to use the CyberTracker software for data collection.
Liwonde National Park
Located in the southern region of Malawi, Liwonde is home to Malawi’s largest populations of elephant, black rhino, cheetah and waterbuck. The area is managed by African Parks, in partnership with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Liwonde was at the heart of the largest elephant translocation in history, led by African Parks and known as 500 elephants. In recent years Liwonde has been the subject of numerous wildlife reintroductions and it is now the top park in Malawi for carnivore sitings, especially cheetahs and lions.
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