Wildlife Veterinary Work Experience

Gap Africa Projects  »  Wildlife Veterinary Work Experience

Wildlife Veterinary Work Experience

Duration: from 2 weeks to 4 weeks
Countries: South Africa
Our Wildlife Veterinary and Game Farming course is an incredibly hands on and rewarding programme, allowing you to work closely with one of the Western Cape’s premier Wildlife Vets.

Wildlife Veterinary Work Experience

The aim of the course is to provide veterinary students, aspirant Vet students and Para Veterinary students the opportunity to gain practical experience and insight  in as many aspects of veterinary wildlife and conservation work as possible. The programme is incredibly varied and will expose you to a variety of veterinary practices and methods over the two week course.

If you are looking for once in a life time work experience then this is the course for you!

Due to the nature of the course, activities can vary depending on weather conditions, wildlife emergenices and other factors that dictate the work of a wildlife vet. With this said, there are still the main course principles that will be covered during your time on the course:

  • To gain invaluable experience through exposure to practical and hands on skills in the wildlife veterinary field
  • Expose participants to behind the scenes veterinary Wildlife Ranching and  Conservation
  • Wildlife ranching versus wildlife breeding projects
  • Immobilisation and capture  techniques used for various wildlife species
  • Wildlife ranching and conservation  challenges.
  • Develop their animal handling skills across a range of African Wildlife Species
  • Develop their understanding and gain further experience of medical treatment of wildlife
  • Care and Hand raising of  wildlife orphans
  • Appreciate the importance of herd health in intensive wildlife breeding.
  • Gain experience of a variety of veterinary wildlife and conservation working environments
  • Vegetation types suitable for wildlife ranching
  • Tracks and tracking of Big Five on 50 000 hectare reserve
  • Conservation perspective from Cape Nature Conservation

Possible Veterinary Activities

  • Preparing and loading darts: correct methods to minimize risks
  • Darting simulation  and practice  shooting exercise for students.
  • Wildlife immobilization on a wildlife ranch :  Darting Buffalo or
  • Sable or smaller antelope.
  • Helicopter darting of large Wildlife species : buffalo , black wildebeest , other antelope.
  • Giraffe capture; specialized procedure when available.
  • Net gun capture from  helicopter:  Demonstration for smaller antelope : impala
  • Mass capture of wildlife: Boma capture. Setting up, wind direction, terrain considerations , other planning.
  • Logistics of  wildlife transportation: Customised  vehicles  , crates and equipment.
  • Parasite( internal and external ) monitoring and control  in wildlife.
  • Faecal sampling and processing plus microscope identification
  • State Veterinary disease control in practice. Notifiable disease sampling and  control hands-on : Tuberculosis , Foot and Mouth, Brucellosis, Corridor Disease. Documentation required : Red cross permits.
  • Wildlife breeding management ( sable antelope , buffalo  , rhino  big cats, ostrich) . Visit and exposure to Sable- , Buffalo- , Lion- , Cheetah-, Ostrich   breeding projects.
  • Calculating doses for darting wildlife
  • Administering medications
  • Darting practice
  • Visit to Ostrich farm and hatchery
  • Buffalo routine visit: measurements, health checks, parasite treatment, foot trimming, Pregnancy diagnosis.
  • Ostrich handling and vaccination
  • Attend emergencies (stitch up’s, wound treatments, escaped animals, dystocia)
  • Translocation of wildlife
  • DNA testing and blood sampling of wildlife (Bontebok)
  • Mass capture of antelope
  • Post Mortem of a wildlife species.
  • Visit to Sanborna Nature Reserve
  • Visit to Game Abbattoir
  • Laboratory work; identifying parasites from samples, microscope worm, blood smears, egg floats.
  • Toxic plant identification
  • Visit to Taxadermist
  • Emergency cases : distokia, injuries, lethargy, loosing weight : diagnostics, immobilizing, treatment .
  • Small five  (Meerkat and Big five( elephant , Rhino , Lion ) exposure

Lectures and Theory

  • Theory and Lectures for Chemical and Physical Restraint of Wild Animals
  • Veterinary aspects of wildlife conservation (General overview of conservation and why we have to manage animals)
  • Immobilisation and capture of wildlife (Mass capture/sail system/net gunning/ individual darting)
  • Game Farming (value, logistics, trends)
  • Pharmacology used in Wildlife (Drug classes and names and doses used and applications)
  • Transportation and Tranquilisation
  • Equipment needed in wildlife veterinary (equipment needed plus safety in the field)
  • Capture related problems (Stress, hyperthermia, bloat, aspiration, capture myopathy, shock, 11 commandments)
  • Talk from representative from Nature Conservation
  • Species specific anatomy and problems (Giraffe, Elephant, ruminants, rhino, carnivores)
  • Diseases and parasites of wildlife
  • Toxicosis in wildlife
  • Boma management
  • Ostrich farming

Extra Curricular Weekend Activities ( Additional cost for own account)

  • Beach visit and sleep over in  beach front cottage  on Garden Route blue flag  Wilderness beach 
  • Whale watching (in season)
  • Shark cage diving
  • Crocodile cage diving
  • Visit Knysna lagoon
  • Raptor rehabilitation and awareness Centre

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Gap Africa Projects should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.


Further Details

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Project Location

The Wildlife Veterinary & Game Farming Course is based in the Southern Cape Province of South Africa and is situated approximately 400km from Cape Town and 1000km from Johannesburg.

Our closest connecting airport is George Airport, which is 65km from the town of Oudsthoorn which serves as our base. Oudsthoorn is the capital of the little Karoo, which is an elongated, unpopulated, semi arid valley which is located between two unspoilt parallel mountain ranges with crystal clear water sources.

The Karoo is one of the Western Cape’s most diverse regions with gigantic cliffs, desert-like landscapes, crystal clear streams and fertile vineyards. The area offers breath-taking scenery and a true sense of wilderness.

Both Cape Town and Johannesburg airports are International airports with connecting flight to George Airport.


Students will stay in a B&B b in the town of Oudtshoorn nearby to Dr Willem Burgers home. Students will be collected and dropped off at their accommodation at the start and end of the day. Occasionally due to the nature of a wildlife vets schedule students may have to spend a night or 2 away from home. Either at Dr. Burgers reserve or at other suitable accommodation.

Catering: Breakfast and dinner will be provided at the accommodation, packed lunch will be organized daily by Dr. Burger.


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Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Gap Africa Projects should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.

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