Elephant Research in South Africa
Volunteers contribute to all aspects of elephant research, education, husbandry and conservation, this creates an awe-inspiring experience. Volunteers' main activities will be assisting with research, this depends on the research being conducted at the time but could include:
* Monitoring and recording behaviour; including social interactions and feeding behaviour
* Night time observations
* Botanical surveys
* Dung, urine and other sampling for analysis
* Data input and analysis
Volunteer other jobs are varied but may include the following elephant care tasks:
* Preparing food for the elephants
* Making elephant enrichments
* General maintenance e.g. mucking out pens, general cleaning, painting
* Environmental education including visits to the children's shelter to run eco-educational activities
* Gardening; growing food for the elephants
* Dung recycling projects (this helps to raise funds for the research unit)
* Preparing milk bottles and feeding baby elephants (this will depend on whether there are any babies at the time)
How is the project making a difference?
The park provides a home to elephants in need, providing them with an improved environment, healthy diet, enrichment and access to veterinary care. The elephants are free to spend their days roaming within the 110 hectare park!
They highlighted the serious lack of research done on captive elephants in South Africa, particularly with respect to their welfare and husbandry, within their own unique environments. Consequently, in 2009 the park established the first captive elephant research unit dedicated to captive elephants.
Why volunteers are needed:
Volunteers help the park staff to feed and care for nine elephants which is no small task! Volunteers are an incredibly important part of the park and its research unit. They enable the park to include more individual elephants in their studies and to study these animals for longer periods of time, which allows for greater insight and understanding of this fascinating species.
Having volunteers to assist with the research has allowed the park to include additional projects into their schedule. The knowledge gained from this research adds to the advice they are able to provide for the optimal care and management of captive elephants. This is crucial for the wellbeing of captive elephants around the world.
Volunteers act as ambassadors for the park and its elephants by helping to spread the word about elephants and their research, welfare and conservation issues.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Pod Volunteer should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.