Why join this course?
Students on the course are directly contributing to African wildlife conservation. You will learn about all aspects of poaching, from the illegal bush meat, ivory and rhino horn trades, to the economic factors involved in poaching. You will engage in active measures to prevent poachers from attacking wildlife in the area you are patrolling. The course is 20% theory and 80% practical, so most of your time is spent in the field, learning first hand about the environment and wildlife around you.
What does the course cover?
Wildlife identification and tracking
You will undertake daily foot and vehicle patrols, and also night drives, to discover the kingdom of the nocturnal creatures, such as leopard and hyena
- Big game identification and behaviour studies
- Big game tracking skills focusing on rhino tracking
- Human tracking skills and exercises
- Tracks and spoor identification
- Understanding the signs of humans in the bush
- Monitoring the movements of threatened animals in the area
You will learn about the poaching industry – what has driven the recent increase in large animal poaching and what can and is being done to counter the threat
- Learn anti-poaching techniques and patrol procedures – learn patrol planning, identifying poaching hotspots, the art of camouflage and surveillance and ambush planning
- Undertake snare patrols
- Navigation skills by day and night
- Advanced firearm handling
- Arrest and search procedures – learn how to undertake a legal arrest, a vehicle search and how to man a road block
- Ecology – learn about the relationships between animals and plants and the impact of one on the other
- Conservation practices
- Wildlife law
- Basic first aid and snake bite treatment
At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of participation recognised by the South African Police Service and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.
Your course itinerary
Day 1: meet your instructor and group at the airport and transfer by car to your first nights accommodation in a game lodge. Orientation and welcome.
Day 2: Depart to your base camp in the Waterberg region. Camp orientation, safety briefing, game drive.
Days 3-8: the course includes classroom learning (under a tree, around the fire, in a river bed!) and practical field work in the bush. The course is very hands-on and you should be prepared for some foot-based tracking and hiking across different terrain. Some nights you will go on night patrol, and there may be early mornings for big game tracking.
Day 9: return to the game lodge to relax before your journey home. There is a short exam to recap all you have learnt, and a certificate presentation.
Day 10: transfer back to Johannesburg in time for your onward travel.
You will stay in a permanent tented camp, which is basic but comfortable. Each tent has beds, mattresses and pillows, but participants must bring their own sleeping bag and liner. There are shared ablutions with hot and cold running water and flush toilets. The camp is unfenced and allows for the free movement of animals including rhino, buffalo, hyena and leopard. You will receive three meals per day and there is unlimited tea, coffee, juice and water throughout the day. There is no electricity at camp, but there is phone signal and facilities for charging cameras and phones.
“This course opened my eyes to anti-poaching and conservation. I learned so much about rhinos, tracking, procedures and bush survival skills and I walked away eager to learn and contribute more. For anyone wanting to further their bush knowledge and develop a greater understanding and appreciation for anti-poaching, this course is for you. I couldn’t recommend it more.”
Morgan, Australia, June 2017
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work alongside one of the greats of the conservation industry. We tracked for hours, we observed, we were constantly learning. The whole set up was perfect. We spent time taking lessons around the fire, then headed out on foot to put the information into practice. I would definitely encourage anyone looking for something out of the ordinary to get involved.”
Rob, Australia, July 2017