Run by: The Great Projects
Reference number: Zululand Wilderness Conservation Project
The Zululand wildlands are regarded as some of the most diverse in all of Africa, with countless wildlife species making their home here. Rhinos, big cats and more all roam Zululand's vast plains, yet despite the region's declaration as a World Heritage Site, risks such as poaching threaten its ecosystems - so why not work towards the conservation of the area's animals?
This project aims to monitor and re-introduce threatened wildlife species, and is the only conservation organisation in the country to receive support from conservation authorities such as the WWF. Over the past few years, the Zululand Wilderness Conservation Project has succeeded in reintroducing some 200 black rhinos to the wild, and has also managed to relocate almost 400 animals to safer areas. Even after relocation, the animals are tracked with devices as to ensure their lasting safety.
While the project team works hard, their efforts would remain unfulfilled if not for the support of volunteers. By joining the Zululand Wilderness Conservation Project, you will assist with daily conservation activities such as mapping and observation, aiding the vital conservation efforts of South Africa's amazing wildlife.
Your time at the project could be spent at any of five wildlife sites. You will have the opportunity to visit more than one site, each with unique surroundings, if you volunteer for two weeks or more. No matter which park you work on, you may become involved in the activities listed below:
There are over 400 known species of endangered animals in Africa, therefore it's important that these species are monitored correctly. You will act as an assistant to your group's monitor, helping with daily activities as instructed all while learning about species such as wild dog, cheetah, rhino, and vulture.
You will be taught how to map animal locations via the use of GPS and telemetry, and will also be tasked with recording information on group compositions, feeding patterns, and other behaviours.
You will assist the Zululand staff in creating and updating 'identikits', designed to aid observation and data collection of the animals on the reserve. This task involves the set-up of camera traps, and taking photos whilst out on game drives.
At least one day per week will be spent compiling all previously-gathered information into the project's own database, allowing them to analyse any and all findings. The more the project knows about the animals on the reserve, they more can be done to protect them.
You may occasionally be invited to assist on additional activities, such as alien plant control, animal release, and collaring. You may also have the opportunity to help with 'notching', an occasional but privileged experience for any volunteer. Notching is a type of identity-marking activity on species such as rhino and offer a great insight to the importance of conservation, but are not a given - they are entirely dependent on necessity, so please manage expectations accordingly.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website