WC02: 28 Dec. 2017 – 18 Jan. 2018
WC01: 21 May – 11 June 2018
WC02: 28 Dec. 2018 – 18 Jan. 2019
Join us for an experience of a lifetime on this field study program in South Africa:
About the Program
The wildlife conservation field study program offers an exciting, hands-on, in-depth and educational experience, taking students behind-the-scenes in the wildlife field in Southern Africa. The expeditions are in the form of a camping safari and lodging, and the duration is around 3 weeks. Students interact with rangers, veterinarians and researchers working in the field, giving them an insight into life, successes and problems associated with conservation in Africa today. Participants also meet and learn from pioneers in game capture and those actively involved in the field of wildlife veterinary science on a day-to-day basis. The program includes a Capture and Care course where students participate in actual game capture operations.
This program has been offered for international students since 1999. It is tailor-made and open to students in wildlife management, biological sciences, natural resources or related field currently enrolled at a recognized tertiary educational institution. The program is also open to qualified professionals and other interested persons.
Day 1: Arrival
Students arrive and are welcomed at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, by EcoLife guides and representatives. You are transferred to your lodge close to the airport.
Day 2: North West University
We drive to the campus of the North West University in the town of Potchefstroom. Here we attend a lecture workshop on a variety of wildlife conservation subjects. Late afternoon, we return to the lodge close to the airport for the night.
Day 3: Drive to Kruger National Park
After an early breakfast, we start our journey east to the Kruger National Park to arrive in the late afternoon and set up camp. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.
Day 4 – 6: Kruger National Park
Kruger Park with it’s high biodiversity is the ideal environment for observing and studying most of the wildlife species found in southern Africa. The morning will be spent with an ecologist to learn more about the ecology, park management and special wildlife conservation programs. Driving northwards through various habitats we camp at one of the central camps. The Elephant Ecology Museum in the camp will be visited.
Day 7: Private Game Reserve
Exiting at the park and traveling to the Balule Region of the Greater Kruger National Park, we check in to a rustic bush camp and listen to a lecture on the wilderness area and the conservation program for the next 4 days.
Accommodation: Rustic Bush Camp
Days 8 to 11: Field Program
We spend 4 days with a team of professionals who will teach us the basic skills of tracking on foot, wildlife behavior and ecology, and plant, bird and animal identification. Activities include daily bush walks in Greater Kruger National Park focusing on various aspects African Wildlife Conservation.
Accommodation: Rustic Bush Camp
Days 12 and 14: Wildlife Diseases workshop
A basic awareness of the different diseases that wildlife can contract and how to identify the symptoms by studying the behavior, movement and appearance of animals, is important to the African Wildlife Conservationist. A 2 day workshop is presented by a wildlife disease specialist in the field.
Accommodations: Bush Camp
Day 15: Hoedspruit
We check out and drive to the scenic Lowveld town of Hoedspruit. Here we set up camp in a private reserve.
Day 16: Reptile Park and Blyde Canyon Reserve
Our day starts with a visit to a local wildlife rehabilitation center. The care of a wide range of wildlife species will be experienced and demonstrated first hand. This is your chance to see a large variety of African wildlife species. After lunch we attend a workshop presented on the handling and care of reptiles, including highly venomous snakes.
Day 17: Cheetah Breeding Project
After an early breakfast we take a tour of a cheetah breeding facility. The facility is home to a variety of African cats and wild dogs. Our afternoon is spent at leisure back at our camp.
Days 18 – 20: Hands-on Game Capture
The successful capture, handling and translocation of wildlife form an important part of the wildlife veterinarian’s program. The next 5 days are dedicated to observing, learning about and participating in actual game capture operations under the guidance of a wildlife veterinarian. We will, subject to the weather, also personally experience a mock darting exercise from a helicopter in flight. The region where the game capture will take place will be different for each group.
Accommodation: Lodge or camping depending on the region
Day 21: Helicopter Darting Practice and Graduation
We will, subject to the weather, take part in a mock darting exercise from a helicopter in flight. We gather early evening to enjoy a farewell dinner and take part in our graduation ceremony.
Day 22: Departure
We depart for Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, in time for your flight home. The group will be dropped off at the airport in the early afternoon. Note: Most flights to the USA, Europe and Australia depart in the early evening.
Application Process and Payments