Conservation Internship

Action for the Wild

KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Volunteer • Full Time 01206332514 Wendy Lehkyj

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Not specified, apply soon!

Experience South African Wildlife with this unique, hands-on opportunity!

Colchester Zoo's charity, Action for the Wild, are now offering you the chance to come and gain credible work experience and make a difference on our private nature reserve in South Africa.

The UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve, situated in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, is a 6,00 hectare reserve comprised of five farms previously managed for cattle and encompasses a wide range of habitats from acacia savannah and bushveld to mountainous terrain. The aim of Action for the Wild is to rehabilitate UmPhafa as an example of the region’s previous natural condition. UmPhafa is now home to a wide range of fauna including giraffe, kudu, impala, common reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, zebra, blesbok, red hartebeest, wildebeest, waterbuck, nyala, warthog, aardvark and porcupine - to name only some. Leopard and spotted hyena have returned to the area naturally and are regularly recorded through camera trapping, tracking, and – on rarer occasions – sightings. Small to medium sized carnivores such as black-backed jackal, caracal, serval, genet, and several species of mongoose are also common.

As an intern to UmPhafa’s management, you will have an interesting, exciting and - overall - valuable time by playing a crucial role in the operation of the reserve by helping to collect vital data necessary to make key management decisions. You will have the satisfaction of developing the necessary skills required to make in-roads into the field of conservation, whilst working closely with large animals and knowing that your contribution is having a direct influence to the wellbeing of the fauna on UmPhafa Reserve.

This is an opportunity to gain creditable work experience in the field and shadow qualified staff members on a wide range of aspects involved in the running of a reserve. Days will be varied with duties including behavioural observations on game species which often involves stalking species through the bush at close quarters. You will also be aiding with the other current research projects such as small mammal trapping; setting up and checking carnivore tracking stations; and camera trapping of elusive nocturnal species providing an exceptional chance to learn crucial survey techniques as well as gaining a greater appreciation of African animals and habitats. Seasonal work includes game releases and capture.

Vegetation surveys and assessments comprise an important element and identification skills are a major component of the internship. You will learn the importance of particular plant species, their traditional/medicinal uses, and vital nutritional information of the various herbivorous species. Some general reserve maintenance is also necessary.

During your time in South Africa it will also be possible to experience local life and thereby develop an appreciation for the different views of conservation practices in Africa and a greater understanding of traditional Zulu culture.

Internships are offered following a successful interview which can be held at Colchester Zoo or over the phone if travel is difficult. The minimum period of stay is 4 weeks and placements are available year round.

Action for the Wild is a non-profit organisation and therefore placements must be self-supported. A contribution of £1220 for stays of four weeks with an additional contribution of £620 per four weeks thereafter will be required.

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