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Volunteering in South Africa

kelsey_33

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 1
Joined: February 17th, 2014

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Tags: south africa, volunteering, wildlife
  • Added on: February 19th, 2014
Hello!
For all the nature, wildlife, and conservation lovers out there, I want to tell you about a program that I’ve spent the past 4 weeks volunteering at in South Africa! It’s a lion and black rhino monitoring volunteer program called LEO and it was an absolutely amazing experience! LEO is located in the private and secluded Selati Game Reserve, free from tourists, making the experience that much more real. You basically have the whole reserve to yourself! This gives you the chance to experience all of the outstanding wildlife that Africa has to offer, from impala, giraffe, and zebra, to herds of elephants and prides of lions, to elusive leopards and feisty white and black rhinos!
LEO offers its volunteers the opportunity to learn and experience first-hand the impact each animal has on the surrounding environment by getting volunteers directly involved in the research. As a volunteer, I got to help out with some anti-poaching activities, recording data, and doing telemetry, which is the device we use to find the lions, elephants, and leopards that we’re monitoring! Even when using telemetry, sometimes the animals will still surprise you! There was one day on drive when we were looking for one of our lionesses that we hadn’t seen in a while and we stumbled upon one of our male lions stalking ground hornbills (a very endangered bird – thankfully he didn’t catch one :))! It was such an amazing thing to see!
With one of LEOs main focuses being the monitoring of lions, you have the opportunity to see these amazing animals on a daily basis, whether they are hunting/feeding, playing, or (their personal favorite) sleeping. They also have a Black Rhino monitoring program where you get to spend the whole day on a quad with a LEO guide, finding the black rhinos and monitoring their conditions. With Black Rhinos being so endangered, this was one of my favorite parts of the project because you can really tell how much of a difference you’re making!
You also have the chance to help out with some duties around the house and do some conservation work on the reserve by removing fallen over trees, alien plant species, and road repairs. It is a balance of real conservation efforts and an exhilarating, hands-on volunteer experience. Each drive brings a new adventure and the staff members never fail to bring a few laughs as well. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to volunteer at LEO Africa (http://www.leoafrica.org <-- check it out :)) and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to experience the true nature and wildlife of Africa!

Lucky Luke

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Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 553
Joined: March 24th, 2005

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  • Added on: February 19th, 2014
Down the bottom of your keyboard, just up and right of the space bar is an amazing little button called the full stop(.)

crystalk

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 7
Joined: December 24th, 2013

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  • Added on: March 1st, 2014
sounds great, I would check it out next time I m down in SA :D




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