Students work alongside an experienced wildlife veterinarian and participate in the capture and care of wildlife. This is a hands-on programme especially for Veterinary students and is very exciting as well as being instructional.
The wildlife vet is involved with animal relocations, treating sick or injured animals, diagnosing diseases, treating and diagnosing various conditions and the volunteers will, therefore, see first hand the life of a wildlife vet as he treats the animals in their natural surroundings. There are no set hours because wildlife work is very diverse and can be in response to call-outs but students should be flexible, ready to work a variety of hours and to work hard.
Due to the high physical demands of this programme, students are required to be of a good level of fitness. They will assist in the capture, handling and carrying of the animals, therefore, the work can be strenuous. Species to be worked on can include any or all of the following: Lion, Elephant, Cheetah, Leopard, Sable-antelope, Black Impala, Giraffe, Eiland, Roan Antelope, Hippo, Rhino, and so on.
The programme is usually limited to maximum of 4 volunteers at a time.
Evenings can be spent preparing for the next day, cleaning the equipment, self-study, etc.
We work with several different vets, from the North West and Limpopo provinces of South Africa. Some of our wildlife Veterinarians are connected to small animal clinics and students might on occasion be able to assist with interesting cases. One student assisted with a post-mortem on a snake, others sutured after a post-mortem and so on. Occasionally there might be a night time emergency call-out.
Due to the nature of the wildlife work there are no set working hours therefore students must be flexible. Some days might require a very early start and maybe finish early afternoon. On some days work might continue until late evening. Students must therefore be adaptable to every situation and ready to go on a call-out at the drop of a hat.
Some of the vets have to travel in a helicopter, usually to dart animals. Sometimes students are fortunate enough to ride in the helicopter too.
We will inform you as to which vet you have been placed with and which airport you need to book flights to. Note that during your project you may work with different vets.
We are proud to say that we have approval from most of the Universities in the UK, Europe and Australasia for veterinary students to use the project towards their EMS. Forms can be submitted to Vets and Wildlife who will pass them to the relevant vets for filling in at the end of the project. Alternatively students can bring their forms with them.
Most of the Vet placements mean that you have the same accommodation for the duration of your stay which is usually a guest house or room with en suite facilities. However, should the vet have to travel you may sleep in lodges, tents, anything… however, you should not need to rough it ‘survivor-style’ and hot showers and toilets should always be available.
The programme provides cereal for breakfast in the morning and supper in the evening. A packed lunch is taken by the student for lunch. If there is an early start there will also be a packed breakfast taken too.
Students should arrive at Johannesburg airport on a Sunday morning and then either fly to a local airport where their vet is located or they will be transferred from Joburg airport to the Game reserve if that is closer. They will be transferred back to Johannesburg airport/Vet’s local airport on the Saturday at the end of the programme therefore should book an international flight out late Saturday evening.
Accommodation, food, transfer to the Game reserve from either Johannesburg or the vet’s local airport, all project material. Transport back to Johannesburg or the vet’s local airport at the end of the project.
Flights to Johannesburg or the vet’s local airport, Medical Insurance (please check the links for Insurance information), luxury items (chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol, etc), trips on days off.
Have a look at this video, which was done by one of our students:
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