Volunteer With Leopards
Zululand, South Africa

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, to conduct Leopard population surveys within South Africa. This involves conducting a number of exciting, short-term Leopard Population Surveys using remote camera trapping survey methods. The survey is the largest on leopards of its kind in the world where we’re working together with provincial parks to help inform management to improve leopard conservation.

Project Type:
Volunteer
Duration:
2 weeks +
Price:
R18,000.00 First 2 weeks
R12,800.00 Every following 2 weeks.
Choose your currency
Requirements:
18+
Overview
What Will I Do?
Project Detail
How Do I Get There?
Dates and Costs
Apply Now

Overview

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, to conduct Leopard population surveys within South Africa using remote camera trapping methods. The survey is the largest on leopards of its kind in the world where we’re working together with provincial parks to help inform management to improve leopard conservation.

Leopard management is typically guided more by experience or anecdote than hard science. This project aims to collect real data on leopard population trends which can inform management decisions and assess the impacts of conservation actions.

Wildlife ACT volunteers assist with the leopard monitoring in Kwazulu-Natal. This involves setting up, maintaining and taking down the cameras at different locations, checking the SD cards and recording data as well as helping with identikits for each animal if necessary. Volunteers also help collate the photographs of non-target, priority species (Black and White Rhino, Elephant, Lion, Cheetah, Wild Dog) for management and monitoring purposes.

Wildlife ACT volunteers can select this project in conjunction with the Endangered Species Conservation project. Most volunteers who come for more than two weeks spend two weeks on the Leopard Census project and then do a multiple of two week sessions on the other Wildlife ACT project sites in Zululand.

FAQs

LOCATION

The Leopard Survey has taken place on various game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal including Somkhanda, Zimanga, the uMkuze section of isiMangaliso Wetland Park, Ithala and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Other sites are added annually for once-off surveying.

What Will I Do?

Wildlife ACT’s main focus on these short-term Survey projects involves setting up and/or taking down the motion sensor cameras at different locations – (note that this occurs at the beginning and end of each survey – which lasts for a 2-month period).

The ongoing fieldwork for the Leopard Survey team involves driving to each camera site within the reserve. At each of the sites the team will check to see that the cameras are active and are still attached to the poles correctly to get the best leopard photos. (The cameras may have been bumped off by curious animals).

The team will change the batteries and download the images from the cameras on to a USB device to work through back at the camp. There may also be a need to clear some vegetation or make natural barriers to protect the cameras and their very important data from inquisitive animals.

Incidental monitoring of any other priority species animals on the reserve will be recorded as incidental sightings, during the course of performing the camera trap fieldwork.

Back at camp the team will download all the photos collected and then start the very important task of sorting and categorizing them into different Priority Species Folders.  This may take some time behind a computer at camp, however by doing this you will be greatly assisting the reserve with crucial data for optimal management of the wildlife area.

Free Time

Camera download days are usually only 4 days of the week. The camera downloads take on average 4 – 7 hours on any given day. Once the selected camera-sites have been downloaded for the day and the photographs have been correctly catalogued, you will have some free time.

FAQs

Project Detail

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisaiton, Panthera, to conduct Leopard population surveys within KwaZulu-Natal. This project was started due to high hunting levels outside of the game reserves causing the Leopard populations within protected areas to decline. In response to this Panthera, together with Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, worked together to rewrite legislation regulating the trophy hunting and control of Leopards that may enter outside communities.

This project is continued, now with the aid of Wildlife ACT, to ensure that the new regulations are adhered to and are sustainable for the years to come. For more information visit, http://www.panthera.org/programs/leopard/munyawana-leopard-project.

With the use of Camera-Trap Surveys we are able to estimate the density and gauge population trends over time. At specifically chosen reserves, the project sets up a minimum of 30 camera-trap stations, each of which has two camera-traps (to capture the left and right hand side of the animal). The stations are set-up along roads, animal paths and other areas (such as river beds or drainage lines) which Leopards may frequent.

The surveys are spread across an area that covers 100 – 120 km2 and runs for 50 days before moving to a different reserve. Estimates of Leopard population size in any given area are determined using capture-recapture models which is why this survey will run within KwaZulu-Natal for up to 5 years.

FAQs

How Do I Get There?

Richards Bay is our closest airport. Johannesburg is approximately 600km from Richards Bay, (which is 8 or 9 hours drive). The connecting flight from Johannesburg to Richards Bay takes about 1 hour 30 minutes.

The easiest way is for you to book your international flight through our partners at “Gapyear”– a specialist division of The Flight Centre Travel Group. They specialize in finding and booking available flights at the best prices possible. Because they book so many of our volunteers’ flights, they know exactly what flights to book and what potential problems to look out for.

Contact the team on wildlifeact@flightcentre.co.uk for assistance, and remember to tell them what dates you are looking to join Wildlife ACT.

You can also call them on 00448082609947.

ARRIVAL flight:

Please ensure that you book one of the following flights arriving in Richards Bay at:

07:20am, 09:20am, 10:20am, 11:25am or 14:30pm, on the Monday of your arrival,

The 14:30pm arrival flight is perfect, since the transport company arrives to collect at 14:30pm.

Important note:

Please do not book the 15:15pm arrival flight, as it arrives too late for us to be able to transport you to the reserve before nightfall.

Also, please be aware that if you book the 07:20am arrival flight, you will have a few hours to wait until the transport service arrives to collect all arriving volunteers from Richards Bay Airport at 14:30pm. We suggest you wait in the small coffee shop within the Richards Bay Airport. You will be comfortable and safe there, and they do sell beverages and light meals/snacks so you can sit and read or work on your laptop.

DEPARTURE flight:

Please ensure that you book one of the following flights leaving Richards Bay at:

14:40pm, 15:05pm or 15:45pm on the Monday of your departure.

The 15:05pm departure flight is perfect, since the transport service drops off at airport at 13:00pm.

Important note:

Please do not book flights departing from Richards Bay earlier than 12:00 noon, as we will simply not be able to get you to the airport in time, from the reserve.

Transfer service:

When you arrive at Richards Bay airport, you will be collected by an organised responsible transfer company with a sign. All arriving conservation volunteers will be transported by the transfer company to a central meeting point, where you will be met by your respective Wildlife ACT wildlife monitors, who will then take you into the reserve, on the back of a monitoring vehicle. On the Monday of your departure you will be transported back to Richards Bay airport to catch your departing flight home.

FAQs

Dates and Costs

ZAR USD EUR GBP
2 Weeks 18000.00 1371.60 1207.80 1080.00
4 Weeks 30800.00 2346.96 2066.68 1848.00
6 Weeks 43600.00 3322.32 2925.56 2616.00
8 Weeks 56400.00 4297.68 3784.44 3384.00
10 Weeks 69200.00 5273.04 4643.32 4152.00
12 Weeks 82000.00 6248.40 5502.20 4920.00
TRANSPORT FEE 1750.00 133.35 117.43 105.00

Starting Dates


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2017

19 June
03 July
17 July
31 July
14 August
28 August
11 September
25 September
09 October
23 October
06 November
20 November
04 December

2018

03 January
15 January
29 January
12 February
26 February
12 March
26 March
09 April
23 April
07 May
21 May
04 June
18 June
02 July
16 July
30 July
13 August
27 August
10 September
24 September
08 October
22 October
05 November
19 November
03 December
Overview
What Will I Do?
Project Detail
How Do I Get There?
Dates and Costs
Apply Now