Shamwari Volunteer Experiences
Participants are exposed to short and long-term projects which are by outcome, intended to create sustainability for generations to come. Tasks may vary from physical work to interesting and interactive lecture based content. There are several mon
itoring projects which assist in capturing vital information used in the research and management of all species on reserve. The experience is diverse and structured, yet not prescheduled as result of the nature of working in and around wildlife and a reliance on prevailing conditions. Visits and tasks at the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre are undertaken according to the requirements to manage and host the big cats and other animals deemed to have chance of being saved, rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
This experience is operated from any one of our three varying accommodation facilities which have dining and common and/or lounge areas, but is generally hosted from our main facility on an area known as Pote’s. Average stays vary from between two to 12 weeks, with recommendation of a longer stay on availability. Although any room or facility changes are averted, participants may be moved during their stay.
With a minimum stay of two consecutive weeks, start dates are any Monday on availability and by time schedule, operations run from approximately 08H00 to 17H00 daily. Evenings are at leisure with any need for early morning or late night activities dependent on the tasks at hand. Our conservation work generally runs in-week from Monday to Friday or as is required by the operations of the reserve’s conservation efforts, therefore participants may be asked to assist and conduct related weekend activities from time-to-time.
Game Monitoring: Rhino, Elephants, Predators
With regular monitoring, it is possible to identify individuals, compile information about the family structure and determine feeding and special ecology. Data collected is used to assist in the managing decisions for the reserve.
Annual game counts are conducted to establish the carrying capacity of the reserve. Game counts assist in the decision making of predator to prey ratios and the movement of animals on or off the reserve.
Monitoring of some high profile animals like cheetah and leopard are required using telemetry tracking equipment as result of the neighbouring properties carrying livestock and the elusive nature of some of the species.
Restoration & Rehabilitation of Reserve Landscapes
The need to return the once pristine landscape to its original splendour includes the collecting and removal of old fence lines and rehabilitating degraded and overgrazed land.
Management of Breeding Centre
Management of the breeding centre can include anything from veld (open country or grassland) assessment of conditions, mapping of breeding area and alien vegetation, monitoring animal numbers and managing water points.
Undertakings of research projects with a focus on a value added outcome for the reserve or conservation as a whole, are viewed as an incumbency. These projects are often undertaken in conjunction with both local and foreign research and academic institutions and may range from elephant fertility testing to capturing data on lesser known species such as Brown Hyena.
Alien Plant ControlAlien plants were introduced to the land by the farmers for different reasons and uses. Today these invasive plant life need to be removed to increase the natural biodiversity and decrease fire risk.
Born Free Foundation
It is the mission of both the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve to promote the conservation of species and the protection of habitat while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the welfare of animals. Therefore, it is their goal to create an awareness about the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world. An opportunity will be given on a weekly basis for individuals to volunteer at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary.
Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC)Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre was set up to aid in rehabilitating injured animals found on the reserve and su
rrounding community. The aim is to give the animal short-term care and release it back into their natural environment. Volunteers are sent when, and if, assistance is required as the centre is not a sanctuary. No animals are kept for purposes of breeding in captivity but are hosted with
the aim of giving them a second chance to take on life back in the wild. The centre boasts avian, small and large stock bomas (enclosure) areas, which h
ouse the various species that may find their way to Shamwari. Participants may gain different types of exposure through this experience, which dependent on the needs and require
ments of the operation, may range from a assistance through to observation, to a more hands on animal care and husbandry.
The role of conservation does not stop at conserving nature alone, but also includes a responsibility to uplift local and impoverished communities. This responsibility includes education of the community as to the role and benefit of conserving biodiversity and further stresses the importance of conserving our natural resources.
Weekly trips are made into the local community to assist in various community projects that range from creating and maintaining vegetable gardens, recycling projects, painting classrooms and building jungle gyms.
Possible Activities Include:
- Game capture and other wildlife veterinary work
- Sleep outs on the Big five reserve
- Orientation and nature walks
- Assisting in night and anti-poaching patrols
Rates : R4 750 / 475 USD per week