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Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

Frome, United...
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Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

I am hoping to volunteer for a month or so at a wildlife sanctuary in Africa with the focus on big cats.

I have been made aware of Harnas Wildlife Foundation which looks incredible, really up close and personal with a range of big cats mainly cheetahs.

Does anyone know of any other similar sanctuaries that offer volunteer placements?

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Harnas Wildlife Foundation
Harnas Wildlife...
58 Reviews
Gobabis, Namibia
Colorado
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1. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund outside of the town Otjiwarongo offer volunteer placements. The people are great, the facilities top notch, and the area most immaculate.

Also check into the Africat Foundation, also near Otjiwarongo.

Jeremy

Jermibia's Wild Safari Africa (Owner) - Author, Namibia Other Places Travel Guides

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Cheetah Conservation Fund
Cheetah Conservation Fund
378 Reviews
Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Otjiwarongo
Otjiwarongo
Otjozondjupa Region, Namibia
Africat
Africat
102 Reviews
Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Namibia
Namibia
Africa
California
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2. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

Three years ago I went on "Walk with the Lions" in Zimbabwe, very close to Victoria Falls and Zambia. There were several volunteers there. It was called the lion encounter run by Safpar Excellence. The email I have is zammem@safpar.com. If you look at the LonelyPlanet Botswana/Namibia, the list the walk with Lion tour as well. I think you can find out more through SafPar, but they do not run the conservation. Hopefuly it is still there.

Good luck.

Heather

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Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
Namibia
Namibia
Africa
Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

Personally I would not go near "Walk with Lions" or any of that ilk posing as Charities but in fact probably a front for canned hunting. Ask them what happens to the cuddly cubs when they grow up! Yeah, they get released. Ding dong!

CCF is a great place but I am not sure they welcome "well meaning " volunteers unless they have some form of qualification. Try their Website for info.

Frome, United...
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4. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

I have a degree in zoology so the qualification wouldn't be an issue. The CCF looks very interesting. I actually hope to pursue a career as a big cat keeper so am trying to gain some experience. The Moholoholo Rehabilitation centre also looks really good.

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

Well a degree in Zooology is a good place to start so I suggest you write to CCF and offer your help.

Also consider the EHCR projects.

Cary, North Carolina
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6. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

All the places mentioned that offer volunteer opportunities will give you good experience. EHRA though focuses on elephants, not predators.

Werner

Eko Tracks

Scotland
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7. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

We went to PAWS (People and Wildlife Solutions) in May for two weeks. You do manual work in the morning such as bush chopping and clearing old fence wire to restore the land back to its original state to enable the big cats, mainly cheetahs to hunt. In the afternoon you go on safari in Okonjima Reserve and get to see the work done by Africat. It was the best experience of our lives and we are definitely going to return next year.

Someone in our group had just finished a stint in Zimbabwe on "Walking with lions" and we looked it up when we came back but like Mfuwe we feel there is something dodgy about this place. There is far too much contact with the big cats, there should be as little as possible, and they mention captive breeding which in our opinion is completely unethical.

You say you want to pursue a career as a big cat keeper, do you mean in a zoo or "wildlife park". If this is the case then you shouldn't go to Africat whose ultimate aim is to release as many of their big cats back in to the wild as possible which is where where they belong, not in zoos. The one's they cannot realease are in massive enclosures in their native country and they have been rescued from horrendous conditions. We agree 100% with their ideals that wild animals belong in the wild not in captivity which is why we chose this project.

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Africat
Africat
102 Reviews
Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

In 2008, I volunteered for 2 weeks at Harnas. An incredible experience. You definitely get up close and personal with the animals. Some have been hand raised and you can actually sleep overnight with them in their enclosures. Was Awesome!!!!! The volunteer coordinator was awesome....he created many other fun activities for volunteers besides animal care.

If you do go with Harnas, you can book directly through them. Do not go through an agency as they charge you more for the service.

While searching online for wildlife centres in the southern part of Africa before finding Harnas, I came across one place that bred and raised lions for release (can't remember the name), but on further investigating the place, I found that the lions were raised to be put on a game reserve that permitted hunting (people with megga $$$$ were permitted to hunt these lions). So, just a word of caution, do your research before choosing a place to volunteer at.

If you'd like more info on Harnas, just drop me a note.

cheers,

Georgina

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

New Zealand
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9. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

I can give you first hand advice on EHRA and Naankuse wildlife centre having volunteered at both.Naankuse is very accesible being 45kms from Windhoek just of the road out to Hosea Kutao airport.

Naankuse operates rehab and release of carnivores,lions,leopard,cheetah,and caracal.And provide sanctuary for a lot of animals too human habituated to be released,duiker,baboons,cheetah,wild dogs etc.

Recently they have taken in 14 wild dog pups, endangered in the area they were found.Hopes for a wild dog breeding for release program are being explored with other wild dog conservation entities.

Naankuse also offer other volunteer experiences.The one a lot of volunteers enjoy is 2 weeks in the Namib Rand , on big cat tracking research.That is a real get away from civilization experience.

You can find a lot of discussion on Naankuse and volunteer experiences here under Africa 2008 and Africa 2009 in archives.

http://holesinmysoles.blogspot.com/

Naankuse on Facebook is here-

http://www.facebook.com/naankuse?ref=search

And here-

http://welovenaankuse.blogspot.com/

Do have a good look at their sites, ask others, and then book direct with them.As much cheaper that way.

We'll be heading back there next May, hopefully, this time with a camera crew.......

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Windhoek
Windhoek
Khomas Region, Namibia
Scotland
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10. Re: Volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary.

Hi Jimshu

You replied to some of my previous posts before we went to Namibia in May and you were most helpful.

While we were on our volunteer project we asked about Naankuse and we are now not sure that everything they do is entirely ethical. I'm sure they do a lot of good work but one of the volunteers who had been at PAWS before us and also Naankuse had left this project early as they felt it was more like a petting park. We have also heard that they have a captive breeding programme which worries us a bit. I just wondered what your thoughts were on it.

We have started to look in to other volunteer projects and some of the things we have found out are horrific. One of the women on our project had just been in Zimbabwe at Antelope Park and we have now discovered that they sell lion cubs for hunting from an article in the Sunday Times.

We are now extremely wary of any volunteer or conservation project, especially ones with lots of animal contact, without researching it as much as possible.

I'm sure you do lots of research as well but just thought I should share this information with you.

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Namibia
Namibia
Africa