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This information is taken from the Wildlife Africa Conservation Team website

http://www.wildlifeact.com/

Take part in hands-on wildlife conservation in Zululand AfricaEdit

Wildlife ACT was established by a group of ecologists who saw a need for self-funded endangered species monitoring projects across Zululand in South Africa. Wildlife ACT undertakes such monitoring measures as a private, self-funded service provider to those reserves which do not have the capacity to run such projects themselves. With the contribution made by students and researchers, Wildlife ACT ensures endangered and priority species monitoring is not neglected across these reserves. With your help, Wildlife ACT therefore fulfils an essential conservation enhancement role for wildlife managers across the Zululand region. But to do this we NEED YOU TO JOIN THE TEAM


The Wildlife Africa Conservation Team (Wildlife ACT) is a passionate, hands-on team that provides conservation-minded volunteers and students with the opportunity to be part of important endangered wildlife conservation volunteer work in Africa. The work done by Wildlife ACT is conducted within Zululand, South Africa - an area which resounds with the heartbeat of Africa, and which is one of the most diverse and productive wild lands on the planet.

Wildlife ACT is looking for people who want their contribution (in terms of their time and funds) to be effectively utilised in genuine natural resources conservation efforts. If you want to make a real difference while having the African experience of a lifetime, then you are the kind of animal-conservation volunteer we are looking for.

Wildlife VolunteersEdit

Africa has over 400 known endangered animal species. Monitoring & tracking of endangered wildlife is a critical step in the conservation of these species. Many game reserves do not have the capacity to run effective wildlife monitoring and conservation projects. Wildlife ACT provides free monitoring services to these reserves. We can only do it with the help of endangered species volunteer. Wildlife ACT funds these services through student researchers and animal conservation volunteers who contribute for the training and experience gained through spending time on a dedicated monitoring project. Why don't you make a difference by joining us today? Click here.


Student Wildlife VolunteersEdit

Africa has over 400 known endangered animal species. Monitoring & tracking of endangered wildlife is a critical step in the conservation of these species. Many game reserves do not have the capacity to run effective wildlife monitoring and conservation projects. Wildlife ACT provides free monitoring services to these reserves. We can only do it with the help of endangered species volunteer. Wildlife ACT funds these services through student researchers and animal conservation volunteers who contribute for the training and experience gained through spending time on a dedicated monitoring project. Why don't you make a difference by joining us today? Click here.

About Wildlife ACTEdit

The survival of Africa’s critically endangered species is in your hands, as the current generation. Scientists have estimated that if we do not stem the tide threatening over 400 endangered animals and species of wildlife in Africa within the next 20 years, they will be lost forever. Wildlife ACT is a passionate and experienced team that implements and manages tracking and wildlife conservation projects on reserves across Zululand, South Africa, using endangered species volunteers, thereby performing a critical role in the conservation of critically endangered animals like the Wild Dog, Cheetah and Black Rhino, to name but a few.

Wildlife tracking and MonitoringEdit

Our PeopleEdit

Zululand Game ReservesEdit

Making a DifferenceEdit

A Day in the life of a Wildlife ACT volunteerEdit

19 Dec 2009

Zululand is considered by many as the heartbeat of Africa, and makes a dramatic backdrop to the work we do. The African bush is such a dynamic and ever-changing environment to work in and our movements and activities are regulated by the animals we monitor.

We rise with sun and head out on our 4x4 vehicle with at most 3 other wildlife conservation volunteers to locate the animals the monitor has earmarked for the morning using radio telemetry equipment. You will be properly trained to use the telemetry equipment and after just a few days you will be doing the telemetry tracking yourself. Once you've located the animal you will map the sighting using a handheld PGS device, and update identity kits where need be, as well as take down behavioural notes used in our research. The species we monitor include critically endangered species like the African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Black Rhino and Vulture. We also do incidental monitoring of focal species like Elephant, White Rhino, Hyena and Leopard. We are usually back by late morning to fix lunch and some take a siesta. We head out again between 2-3pm to follow up on those animals we did not locate in the morning like elephant and rhino. We are usually back in camp shortly after sunset, and start preparing supper and sit around the fire listening to the sounds of the bush. Some nights the endangered species volunteer's go out to track species like the hyena who are active at night, but usually we are in bed early.

Depending on how long you join the team for and the time of year, you will also be part of darting or trapping and radio collaring of various animal species, the relocation and re-introduction of game, identity tagging of animal, setting and checking of camera traps, game counts, bird ringing and alien plant control. At least once a week we have an afternoon or day set aside to input the information we've gathered into the computer and make an analysis of the data. Volunteers prepare their own meals, and are responsible for camp cleaning and maintenance.

We have a saying here: This is Zululand, Not Disneyland. Monitoring can be exhilarating like when we do game captures, releases, notching or collaring. Some days can be a stretch and even laborious at times, like when we track one animal for a whole day and covering large distances without success. But it’s important. This is not a safari operation and we don’t want to romanticize the work we do. It’s not always pretty or easy, but what we can tell you is that this is real Africa and you will become a real natural resource conservation volunteer.

Volunteer CostsEdit

30 Nov 2009

Many of our volunteers say that money cannot buy the kind of life changing experience they have had with Wildlife ACT. We ensure that all of your funding is used directly to benefit the important conservation work we do here in Zululand. Click here to contact us to get involved!

The cost of volunteering with Wildlife ACT is dependent on the duration of your stay:
Two Weeks - ZAR 9,800 For every subsequent two weeks - ZAR 8,200

That means the longer you stay, the cheaper your trip becomes! Please note: Wildlife ACT uses the South African Rand (ZAR) on all quotations.

The only other cost involved is the ZAR 1000 per person airport pick-up and drop-off fee per person, should you choose to arrive at Richards Bay airport (our closest airport).

David Navin (Newcastle, UK - March 2010) says:

"One experience during our time at Thanda Reserve was truly unforgettable...It was early evening and all the stars were out as we headed to the hyena den one last time before we were due to leave Thanda. There was still no sighting of the elusive "Malcolm", the hyena we had heard so much about. At the den however, we were greeted by two gorgeous hyena cubs.."

Read more about the experience from our past volunteers on FACEBOOK

Where does the money go?Edit

What is included in the cost: The price covers your accommodation, training, equipment and food for meals while at the Wildlife ACT camps.

How does your money makes a differenceEdit

Your placement cost goes directly to Wildlife ACT. Your money is used for Wildlife ACT’s project running costs, such as vehicle maintenance, fuel, equipment, accommodation, salaries and food. We also use a portion of our profits as part of the regions social and conservation efforts. This includes our learnership programme, a unique initiative where Wildlife ACT enlists talented young individuals from the local community to work alongside our rangers and monitors.

How is payment madeEdit

Full payment is only required eight weeks before you depart, however, a 50% deposit is necessary with in order to confirm your placement. In the event of a volunteer failing to join a program, joining after departure, or leaving prior to completion, no refunds or liability will be accepted by Wildlife ACT.

CancellationEdit

Any notification of cancellation must be in writing. The date on which the letter is received by Wildlife ACT or its agents will determine the cancellation charges applicable. In the event of cancellation the following charges apply: more than 30 days before departure 50% of total programme cost retained, less than 30 days before departure 100% of total programme cost retained.

Travel InsuranceEdit

Travel insurance is compulsory. We recommend you discuss this with your travel agent, or contact our recommended travel agent for further details.

Spending MoneyEdit

Although we cover all of your accommodation, training, food and travel costs while you are a Wildlife ACT member, you may want to bring some spending money for treats and drinks, or to buy gifts to take home. Spending money can also be used for leisure excursions during your free time and weekends. It is possible to withdraw cash at ATMs in most towns in South Africa, using either a VISA or MasterCard, so you don’t need to carry too much cash with you.

Training and skillsEdit

30 Nov 2009All training will be via practical tuition in the field. The skills you will gain are:

  • The proper use of telemetry tracking equipment;
  • The use of hand-held GPS devices;
  • How to produce animal identification kits;
  • How to set up and use camera traps to monitor certain endangered species;
  • How to track animals using traditional methods like the identification and following of animal spoor;
  • How to collect animal behavior data and how this data is extrapolated and used to inform and enhance management objectives on these reserves, as well as other reserves across Africa; and
  • A firm understanding of conservation issues facing endangered species across Africa

Who can volunteer?Edit

30 Nov 2009Wildlife ACT is looking for people who want their contribution (in terms of their time and funds) to be effectively utilised in genuine conservation efforts. If you wish to be a part of a professional conservation team, make a real difference and experience important conservation work in Africa, then you are the kind of volunteer we are looking for! Anyone from the ages of 18 can join our team. All you need is the passion to make a difference, have a fair grasp of the English language, be in a reasonably good physical condition and most importantly, have a good attitude. And remember: This is Zululand, not Disneyland!

Accommodation and FoodEdit

30 Nov 2009The accommodation is basic. Most volunteers will share a twin room, with separate shared ablutions and a living/eating area. We have electricity, running warm water and flush toilets. A bed, mattress and bed linen is provided. You will be responsible for keeping the camp clean and tidy. There is always an outside seating area where you can sit by the fire under the stars. Because we live on the Reserve itself and don’t have fencing around the camp, you can expect visits from antelope, monkeys and baboons during the day, and hyaena and bushbabies at night.

At every camp we have a communal kitchen where volunteers prepare their own meals. You’ll have an oven, stovetop, microwave, solar cooker and of course a fire to cook on. Most of the time volunteers take turns preparing meals, or one person becomes the "chef" and the others help with chopping, peeling and cleaning. Sometimes volunteers have different tastes and cook separately, which is also fine. We take volunteers into town to shop for groceries every week or two weeks. We then stock up on everything you will need. As far as possible we try to be environmentally friendly, eg. we don’t buy tinned tuna and we try to use game venison, instead of commercially produced beef and chicken, as much as possible.

Basic food items are provided for within our food budget, enough for 3 healthy meals a day, including fruit. Any additional ‘luxury’ items can be purchased by yourselves should you want them.

The drinking water at the camps is of good quality, but does not always taste great. You can purchase bottled water at your own expense if you prefer.

How to volunteerEdit

17 Nov 2009

A step-by-step guide on how to volunteer:

Step One Find out everything you want to know about Wildlife ACT, read through theFAQs or get in touch if you have any other queries. Then decide which project you’d like to be

Step Two Download the application form or student application form and fill it in.

Step Three Wait to be contacted by a member of Wildlife ACT. We will discuss your placement choice and take you through details such as availability, costs and dates.

Step Four Once the details have been confirmed, your placement will be held provisionally for 10 days.

Step Five Once you’ve paid your 50% deposit, and you have sent us your proof of payment, your placement is secured.

Step Six You will then receive confirmation from us that your booking has been confirmed.

Step Seven You can go ahead and book your flights and arrange your travel insurance; either through your own travel agent or through our recommended travel agent. Please remember that if you fly into Richards Bay, the closest airport, you need to arrive by 13:00 hours. Departing volunteers are dropped at the airport early Monday morning

Step Eight You pack the required items and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!

Most volunteers join the Wildlife ACT team for four to twelve weeks with the minimum stay being two weeks. We maintain small volunteer group sizes of no more than four volunteers per reserve, and therefore recommend that you apply as soon as possible in order to confirm the dates that suit you. Because Wildlife ACT runs a number of projects, we are in the unique position to offer you the opportunity to partake in more than one project, giving you a chance to experience diverse aspects of wildlife conservation. We try to rotate team members between reserves every two weeks, so the longer you stay the more chance you’ll have of visiting other reserves.

You can start a placement every second Monday throughout the year as shown below.Edit

Wildlife ACT - 2010 Start Dates**March 2010 - 1, 15 & 29

    • April 2010 - 12 & 26
    • May 2010 - 10 & 24
    • June 2010 - 7 & 21
    • July 2010 - 5 & 19
    • August 2010 - 2 & 16 & 30
    • September 2010 - 13 & 27
    • October 2010 - 11 & 25
    • November 2010 - 8 & 22
    • December 2010 - 6

If you really are unable to join the team on the above mentioned dates, we might be able to accommodate you as an exception, so contact us and we’ll discuss it from there.

Maps & Getting ThereEdit

17 Nov 2009Getting here is easy. The simplest way is to fly to Johannesburg and then get a connecting domestic flight to Richards Bay where it can be arranged, for a fee of R600, for a Wildlife ACT project member to pick you UP and drop you off again. For flights into Richards Bay visit www.flysaa.com. You will have to arrive at Richards Bay airport before 13:00 on the specified Monday. If you arrive in Johannesburg or Richards Bay on an earlier date, you can stay over as long as needed until pick-up on Monday. If you need ideas of places to stay in Johannesburg or Richards Bay, contact us and we’ll gladly help you out.

A second and cheaper option is to travel by coach and leave from Durban Station on a Monday morning at 08:45 to arrive at Richards Bay at 11:20. Check out the details here, where once again a Wildlife ACT project member can be arranged to pick you up at the drop-off point (the McDonalds) for a fee of R600. JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use Google Maps. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To view Google Maps, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options, and then try again.

FAQ's & InfoEdit

17 Nov 2009

This is a database of questions frequently asked by people interested in volunteering with Wildlife ACT. If your question is not answered here, please submit a query. Q: Do I need to be a student? A: No, although our projects do attract a lot of students, it is not necessary to be a student in order to volunteer with Wildlife ACT.Q: What is the age range for Wildlife ACT volunteers? A: Although we work with many young people / students from all over the world, we rarely allow volunteers under the age of 18 years to join our team. Most of our volunteers are aged between 21 and 35, but we have had volunteers aged over 60. All you need is to be in reasonably good physical condition, have a basic understanding of the English language, be open to new experiences and ways of doing things, and most importantly, have a positive attitude.Q: What do I need to pack for my time with Wildlife ACT? A: Here is a list of what you need to bring with you:**Bush clothing (dull colours, eg. olive green/grey/brown/beige – NOT white, and NOT bright coloured clothing). It is generally quite hot here, so make sure you have enough shorts and t-shirts.

    • Hat/peak cap (dull colour).
    • Lightweight waterproof jacket - dull colour (it does rain here!)
    • Long-sleeved tops and long trousers (to keep mosquitoes off).
    • Walking/hiking shoes (comfortable, water proof if possible) and sandals or flip-flops for relaxing.
    • Sunscreen lotion (factor 30 or higher) and a lip balm with SPF.
    • Sunglasses with UVA protection.
    • Mosquito/tick repellent, and a cream/lotion to soothe mosquito and insect bites (e.g. Anthisan or any mepyramine cream).
    • A water bottle to take with you during the day – it is your responsibility to fill it and keep yourself well hydrated in the heat – very important!
    • Binoculars (if you have).
    • Camera (if you have) and lots of film or a large memory card – there are plenty of photo opportunities!
    • Torch/flashlight/headlamp.
    • Spare batteries (torch/camera/shaver etc.) We encourage the use of rechargeable batteries, as opposed to disposable batteries which are not environmentally friendly.
    • Cell phone if you have one (don’t forget your cell phone’s charger!)
    • Plug adaptors/converters for South Africa.
    • Spending money.
    • Your personal toiletries and medications.
    • Towels (2 if possible)
    • Swimwear (there are swimming pools in the Reserves)
    • A good book or two.
    • A travel journal, should you wish to record your experience.
    • If you have space, bring a sleeping bag in case we need to sleep out.

Q: What medicine or vaccinations will I need in order to volunteer?


A: As we are not qualified to give medical advice, we recommend you discuss any concerns with your GP or MASTA (Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad). Although our projects do not fall in high malaria risk areas, it is advisable to confirm with your GP whether you will require Malaria medication or vaccination. A small number of volunteers have contracted African tick bite fever in the past. African tick bite fever is usually mild, and serious complications are very uncommon. Symptoms can include fever, headache, malaise, and skin rash. There is no inoculation or vaccination you can take to prevent it, so you just need to make sure you use repellent every day and check for ticks regularly. (Note: In South Africa the antibiotic Doxycycline is the preferred agent for treating Tick-bite Fever. Doxycycline is also an anti-malarial drug, so while chatting to your doctor about precautionary medication, ask about Doxycycline, and you may find that you can “kill 2 birds with 1 stone.”)

Q: How much will it cost?


A: Please visit our "costs" page for a comprehensive answer to this question.

Q: What is my money used for?


A: Your placement cost goes directly to Wildlife ACT. Your money is used for Wildlife ACT’s project running costs, such as vehicle maintenance, fuel, equipment, accommodation, salaries and food. We also use a portion of our profits as part of the regions social and conservation efforts. This includes our learnership programme, a unique initiative where Wildlife ACT enlists talented young individuals from the local community to work alongside our rangers and monitors.

Q: How is payment made?


A: Full payment is only required eight weeks before you depart, however, a 50% deposit is necessary in order to confirm your placement. In the event of a volunteer failing to join a program or leaving prior to completion, no refunds or liability will be accepted by Wildlife ACT.

Q: Can I volunteer with a friend or a group of friends?


A: Of course, and we can arrange for you and your friends to be placed together. If you are a group of four, you will qualify for big discounts. If you are volunteering on your own, you can be assured that you will meet some great people.

Q: Can I split my time between more than one project?


A: Yes you can. Wildlife ACT runs a number of projects, so we are in the unique position to offer you the experience of a wide range of monitoring initiatives. Visit our "projects" page to find out what different game reserves we are working on.

Q: How long can I volunteer for?


A: You can volunteer as a part of the Wildlife ACT for any amount of time ranging from two weeks to six months.

To get the full benefit of the programme, we recommend a commitment of no less than four weeks.

Q: How safe is the environment we will be working in?


A: It is important to note that we do work with large, wild African animals, but we mostly view and monitor all of these animals from the relative safety of the game vehicle. The animals are habituated to the vehicles and generally do not change their behaviour due to our presence. However we do have a saying that we tell everyone who visits us: "Remember - this is Zululand, not Disneyland!"

Q: What is the accommodation like?


A: The accommodation is basic. Most volunteers will share a twin room, with separate shared ablutions and a living/eating area. We have electricity, running warm water and flush toilets. A bed, mattress and bedlinen is provided. You are responsible for keeping the camp clean and tidy. There is always an outside seating area where you can sit by the fire under the stars. Because we live on the reserve itself and don’t have fencing around the camp, you can expect visits from antelope, monkeys and baboons during the day, and hyena and bushbabies at night. View images of the accommodation here.

Q: What is the food like?


A: How good is your cooking? At every camp we have a communal kitchen where volunteers prepare their own meals. You’ll have an oven, stovetop, microwave, solar cooker and of course a fire to cook on. Most of the time volunteers take turns preparing meals, or one person becomes the "chef" and the others help with chopping, pealing and cleaning. Sometimes volunteers have different tastes and cook separately, which is also fine. We take volunteers into town to shop for groceries every week or two weeks. We then stock up on everything you will need. As far as possible we try to be environmentally friendly eg. we don’t buy tinned tuna and we use as much game venison as possible.

Q: Can the projects cater for vegetarians?

A: Yes. You join us when we do your shopping for you, and because you prepare your own meals in the communal kitchen it is manageable. Please make known to us your dietary requirements in your application form.

Q: Do I need any specific skills or qualifications to volunteer with Wildlife ACT?


A: No skills or qualifications are needed, but volunteers should have a love of nature, a sound level of fitness, and a positive attitude with an understanding and respect for other cultures, as well as a fair understanding of the English language.

Q: What is the weather like?


A: The summer season covers October to the end of April when the sun is particularly intense, and the air hot and humid, especially December through February when the average daily maximum temperature is 30°C, with temperatures peaking at around 40°C. A warm dry winter begins in May and ends in September. Although the days are generally sunny, the nights and early mornings can be cooler so long sleeve tops will come in handy then. The average daily maximum temperature is 24°C. There can be quite heavy dew-fall some mornings, so bring waterproof shoes if possible for walking through wet grass!

Q: How much spending money do I need to bring?


A: We cover all your accommodation, training, food and travel costs while you are a Wildlife ACT member so you don’t have to bring spending money except for your leisure time. You may want to bring some spending money for treats like chocolate and fizzy drinks, or to buy gifts to take home. Although the water at the camps is safe to drink, it does not always taste great, and some volunteers choose to buy bottled water. Spending money can also be used for leisure excursions during your free time and on weekends if you choose to take a weekend off. It is possible to withdraw cash at ATMs in most towns in South Africa, using either a VISA or MasterCard, so you don’t need to carry too much cash with you.

Q: What do you mean by "Priority Species"?

A priority species is any animal species which is of a management concern on a reserve we are working on, for any number of reasons. For example the African Wild Dog is of concern because it is an Endangered Species and their conservation status is critical, while on the other hand Lion and Hyena are of a concern because they impact heavily on Wild Dog numbers. By understanding the Lion and Hyena demographics and feeding ecology and by managing their populations properly we will be better able to conserve the Wild Dog. The ecological impact that a species has can also be of concern, for example high densities of African Elephant, especially on small Reserves, can have a detrimental effect on the ecosystem. We therefore need to monitor this priority species to establish the population’s demographics and feeding ecology too.

Useful LinksEdit

Baz Bus offers an affordable way to travel around South Africa: with one ticket to your destination, you can hop on and off anywhere along the route. The Baz Bus will pick you up and drop you off directly at backpackers and youth hostels. www.bazbus.comTravelPharm is a member of the National Pharmaceutical Association, a professional body providing a vast database of information and advice to pharmacists throughout the UK. Have a look at TravelPharm for malaria tablets, mosquito nets, first aid kits, insect repellents and much more. www.travelpharm.com

Visit Masta for up to date travel advice on vaccinations, anti-malarial drugs and other general health issues. www.masta.org

If you want to travel on after your placement, you may find these reasonably priced South African airlines useful: www.kulula.com www.flymango.co.za www.1time.co.za www.Flysaa.com

If you are planning on travelling after your placement, this site will give you information on reasonably priced backpacker facilities within South Africa. www.sabackpackers.za.net

From climate to culture, find out useful information about South Africa. www.southafrica.net

Application formEdit

http://www.wildlifeact.com/volunteer/application-form

Student VolunteersEdit

17 Nov 2009

Wildlife ACT is an endangered species monitoring organisation and as such we oversee the daily monitoring of relevant endangered species of wildlife and animals on reserves in Zululand, South Africa.

Before you design a project it is best that you first understand the work which we do and within that the scope of data we have available for analysis and the environment within which you can collect additional data. This requires us to go out into the reserve every day and find these animals using either VHF tracking equipment (which you will be given instructions on how to operate) or conventional spoor tracking techniques. We also develop photo and illustrated identikits of all the species we help monitor.

To give you a better idea, below is an example of the monitoring we are responsible for on Thanda Private Game Reserve and a list of the species we monitor on two other reserves.

Thanda Game Reserve ProjectEdit

Volunteer at the majestic Thanda Game Reserve where we are currently responsible for the monitoring of the African Wild Dog, cheetah, White and Black Rhino, vultures and Spotted Hyena on Thanda.Although the hyenas are not endangered we have started a program to monitor their feeding behaviour on the reserve. This will help us determine the impact their population is having on the prey abundance, which ultimately affects the African Wild Dog and cheetah populations. Every other night is therefore spent with the hyenas.

On a daily basis we find the resident pack of seven African Wild Dogs and two collared cheetahs. These animals have VHF collars on them which enable us to find them with telemetry equipment. We are in the process of collaring at least one other hyena and another two cheetahs on the reserve.

The Black Rhinos do have transmitters in their horns, but the monitoring of these animals is currently done on foot and is very dangerous - students are therefore not involved, but could potentially access the data if they are interested. If we do see a Black Rhino from the vehicle we record its location and behaviour.

The White Rhino and vulture monitoring is done incidentally, meaning we record them only if we chance upon them. We do similar monitoring for the lion and leopard populations on the reserve, especially gathering information related to their feeding behaviour.

Mkhuze Game ReserveEdit

Our student volunteer opportunities to the beautiful Mhuze Game Reserve will see you monitoring the African Wild dogs, the cheetah population and elephant herds. We also do incidental monitoring of vultures and the White and Black Rhino populations.


In January 2010 nature conservation volunteers are due to start monitoring a number of African Wild Dog packs and the cheetah population in the reserve. We will also do incidental monitoring of vultures and the White and Black Rhino populations.Other data collection: While out on the daily monitoring activities with the monitor there are a number of other forms of data wildlife conservation volunteers could collect. All of these must however fall in line with the daily monitoring activities.
Example 1: A dung analyses - While following the animals you may be able to pick up their dung from which you could evaluate what they are feeding on.

Example 2: An insect study - While out in the field there is an option to collect and record different insect species you encounter. These could be presented to the reserve as a display record.

This should be discussed with us before you arrive so we can ensure your project is feasible.

What can you do with this information? There are a number of outputs from the data we collect. We have listed a few of them below, but please bear in mind that this is merely an indication of what is possible. A few of them require the use of Global Information System (GIS) software which analyses the information spatially. You may be able to complete a GIS course at your university before coming to South Africa, following which we could organise you additional GIS tutorage for the data you are using. GIS is used widely by conservationists and animal behaviour scientists throughout the world and is a valuable skill to add to your CV. Please contact Simon directly if this is something you are interested in: simon@wildlifeact.com

Outputs which do not require GIS:

Behavioural studies For example you could calculate whether animal behaviours change during different times of the day and whether these changes occur seasonally.

Distances between locations This can be done with a formula in a spreadsheet using the longitude and latitude information. You can assess the straight line distance an animal moves from one day to the next or the straight line distance between two animals on the same day.
Example 1: You can test whether elephants travel further during the dry season while searching for food.
Example 2: You can test whether African Wild Dogs keep at a minimum distance from the lion pride.

Distance from locations to known points Using a similar formula you could calculate the distance an animal is from certain points of interest.
Example: You can calculate the change in distance an individual is from permanent water sources since the first seasonal rains. You might expect the distance to decrease as water becomes more readily available across the landscape.

Analysis of prey selection You can understand how a predator’s selection of prey species changes over different seasons in conjunction with the abundances of available prey (you can access the game counts which are done on an annual basis).
Example: You could test whether there is an increase in impala and wildebeest prey numbers during the spring calving season when juveniles are easy prey.

Outputs which make use of GIS This software is very powerful and will be able to supply you with many different angles of analysis. We list only a few examples here, but realistically the applications are vast. Ultimately if you would like to use GIS you will be able to develop a project specifically moulded around the softwares’ capabilities. Remember that we will be able to organise additional GIS tutorage if need be.

Home range analyses This will allow you to ascertain the area an animal requires, whether males range further than females, whether individuals or different species share the same space or if animals have different ranging behaviours from one season to the next. In the figure below you can see the home ranges of four different animals within a fenced reserve. The software can calculate the sizes of these home ranges and the overlap between individuals.

Habitat analyses Using a habitat map and an animal’s home range you can ‘cut out’ the area the animal uses and assess which habitats it uses and if this changes seasonally. GIS software can also calculate the size of these areas enabling you to assess which habitats are more preferred than others. In the example below you can see the area of each habitat contained within an individual’s home range.

Distances Using GIS gap year volunteers can calculate the distance each animal’s location is from the closest source of a number of different features. For example, the distance to the nearest fence, road, water point or building. This will allow you to analyse whether any of those features have any effect on their movement across the landscape. Researchers

[http://www.wildlifeact.com/contact-us ] [http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wildlife-ACT/284678801318?ref=ts ]

Student Cost and FundingEdit

17 Nov 2009

The following costs will include your accommodation, food for meals and on reserve activities. The only additional cost is a pick up fee of R700 should you need us to fetch you from Richards Bay airport. Please note how much cheaper it is if:

1. You organize yourselves into groups of four students and
2. You manage to come across for a full twelve weeks or more

Furthermore, the longer you stay the more both you and the monitoring team gains from your experience and input.

We will place pre-organised groups on the same reserve, making your time with us easier to manage and enabling you to do extra activities as a group. Your flights are for yourself to organize, book and pay for and are not included in the costs of the project. If you would like we can put you in contact with a travel agent who does flight bookings for us and will ensure you arrive with other students if you are coming as a group.

Weeks 1 student App GBP price Group of 4 students App GBP price
6 R 30,096 £2,583.74 R 27,360 £2,348.86
8 R 40,128 £3,444.99 R 36,480 £3,131.81
10 R 48,279 £4,144.75 R 43,890 £3,767.96
12 R 56,430 £4,844.52 R 51,300 £4,404.11

Please note that these costs include a South African tax of 14%.

As a student a deposit of R5000 will be needed to confirm your placement on the project as opposed to a 50% deposit applicable to other volunteers. Full payment is due 4 weeks before arrical You will be responsible for paying the South African Rand (ZAR) amount at the current exchange rate on the day. The ZAR does fluctuate greatly. To give you an idea what these costs will be in your currency use the exchange calculator provided.

There are a number of potential opportunities to obtain funding for your projects; the key is to be well prepared when applying for funding and to do so as early as possible, and that means starting today! Don’t only wait on grants and scholarships, organise fund raising events and get CREATIVE!!! One student raised over ₤1000 just by shaving her hair!! Here is a list of sites which will get you started on your search, they either provide funding themselves or offer lists of potential funding options for you, please note there may be many more options out there, the onus is on you to find them.

Royal Geographic Society See the grants for researchers and for expeditions and note the number of other smaller grants in the fine print! This is one of your best bets, read more

British Ecological Society - Undergraduate Ecological Project Support Will supply funding to students wanting to complete work experience or projects during their summer breaks....that would be you! Also see the link to Other Funders. read more

Tropical Biology Association - database of funding organisations Go to the funding database page. You will just need to sign up which requires no money, just a username and password. Go through the different funding options and lists which they make available. This is a very useful site. read more

Society for Conservation Biology - database on funding for African projects Go through the lists and see if there is any funding available for UK students to come to Africa, and check all the links they provide. read more

BIRDNET - grants for projects on birds Remember we will have a satellite device on a vulture which starts recording information for us this year already! read more

Neotropical projects - a comprehensive list of available funding Make sure you understand the requirements and that you fit the outline. read more

Bear in mind that some of these funding sources may require you to first come and join us to get a better idea of a larger scale project you would like to complete. Then with some experience under your belt you will be able to set-up and organise a larger and more detailed expedition/project.

Easy Search and Easy Fundraising are interesting and easy options. The following websites are also extremely helpful and well worth a read. www.grantsforindividuals.org.uk www.governmentfunding.org.uk www.companygiving.org.uk www.trustfunding.org.uk

Student Practical InfoEdit

17 Nov 2009

Project Dates We work on two-week cycles starting and finishing on a Monday (therefore pickups and drop-offs are done on the same day), the cheaper flights also arrive then. The dates are provided below:

You can start a placement every second Monday throughout the year as shown below.Edit

Wildlife ACT - 2010 Start Dates*March 2010 - 1, 15 & 29

  • April 2010 - 12 & 26
  • May 2010 - 10 & 24
  • June 2010 - 7 & 21
  • July 2010 - 5 & 19
  • August 2010 - 2 & 16 & 30
  • September 2010 - 13 & 27
  • October 2010 - 11 & 25
  • November 2010 - 8 & 22
  • December 2010 - 6

If you really are unable to join the team on the above mentioned dates, we might be able to accommodate you as an exception, so contact us and we’ll discuss it from there.Applications Please fill in the student application form. We will then process all applications and confirm your placement on the project, following which you will need to pay the deposit.

Groups There is a space on the application form for you to fill in your groups’ name (competition for the most imaginative name - prize on arrival!) and the list of other members of your group.

==Student application form==

http://www.wildlifeact.com/students-researchers/student-application-form==Contact us== http://www.wildlifeact.com/contact-us

Contact DetailsEdit

If you have any further questions or would like to talk to a member of the Wildlife ACT team, please don’t hesitate to be in contact.

Johan Maree Telephone +27 82 879 7298
Skype: jo-maree


Simon Morgan Telephone +27 82 093 8345

Application forms:

Or if you would rather give us a bit more detail and fill out the full application form:

To volunteer, please click here If you're a student, click here

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