WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Poor local economic circumstances combined with inadequate law enforcement have resulted in indiscriminate poaching of wild animals across Namibia, mostly for their meat and hides, whilst the international trade in animal hides and trophy hunting further decimates Africa's wild animals. The Namibia wildlife sanctuary is fully devoted to caring for sick and orphaned animals and to supplying them with habitats which are as natural as possible. They may come to the sanctuary from many different sources; some are tame animals that the owners can no longer look after, others may have been found trapped in snares or rescued from poachers intending to sell them. The sanctuary does all it can to release these animals back into the wild, but unfortunately this is not always possible, so that they are provided with the best possible home for the rest of their lives. You will be working closely with the animals, preparing their food, checking enclosure perimeters and checking the health of the animals. It is a truly magical place and one which you will feel very privileged to have visited and contributed to.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
This project provides you with a rare and exciting opportunity to work closely with and actively participate in the conservation of African wildlife. You will care for and witness the injured or orphaned animals being fed in the sanctuary on a daily basis as well as cleaning enclosures and helping to develop and maintain the sanctuary. The animals that make their home here include mammals as diverse and exciting as lions, cheetahs, baboons, meerkats, jackals and much more. Our baboons form a large part of the project; when there are baby baboons at the site, volunteers become surrogate mums for the little ones, bottle feeding and sleeping overnight with them. They also go for walks with any babies currently at the sanctuary and our tame bigger baboons. We cannot predict when young baboons will arrive at the sanctuary, so that the number and ages may vary but there are currently over 37.
Your weekly activities may include:
Caring for the animals, including cutting food and assisting at the feeding times of our large carnivores (not for the squeamish!), as well as helping in preparing food for and feeding the meerkats, baboons and farm animals. You will also help to maintain the animal enclosures on the farm, clearing out old food and mess, cleaning waterholes and removing old bones from feeding. You will get to spend part of each week playing with and looking after some of the animals on the farm, including caracals, cheetahs and meerkats.
Maintenance work may include de-bushing to help remove invasive species, digging trenches to help water supplies to camps and other manual activities. Volunteers are involved in many aspects of the sanctuary work, including the rescue, caring for, cleaning and feeding and rehabilitation and release of the animals at the sanctuary. In addition, we care for sheep and goats in an effort to support local farmers and land owners who may have suffer as a result of the predation of their livestock.
You will take part in border fence patrol in pick-up trucks and conduct carnivore enclosure patrols on foot. You may also get the opportunity to learn and take part in various monitoring and tracking techniques, such as searching for cheetah marking trees, locating collared leopard and cheetah through telemetry and GPS tracking, identifying, counting and tracking spoors and checking box traps.
You may spend at least one morning assisting our teacher in the Bushman school on the farm, which was started to provide education to the children here, whose parents cannot afford to send them to school. This is great fun and a very rewarding activity.