Welcome to Namibia - Wildlife – research

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Wildlife – research

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Introduction

In Namibia's magnificent desert landscape, you now have the opportunity to volunteer at three research stations. Three unique projects that, among other things, will work with the tracking of previously released animals, the care of their free cheetahs, camera trapping, game-drives, data collection, etc. Perfect for those who want to experience the African flora and fauna from a close range.

Your role as a volunteer

Many people choose to combine their volunteer time at the Wildlife project with one or more weeks in one of these three research stations (Novo, Kale and Mave). We also offer the chance to work only on one of the stations for a longer period. If you choose Nove or Kale you will start a Saturday and finish a Saturday. At Mave you will start a Wednesday. The rest of the time will be spent on Namibia Wildlife.

Below you will find information about the three research sites:

Kale -  Focus spotted hyena and cheetah Here you live in the middle of the desert in a stunning landscape where you focus on research of the spotted hyena. One night a week, you sleep on a dune with the star filled sky as company.

Kanaan - Red dunes

Project fee from EUR 1,330

Duties: • Capture, label and release wildlife in the free area • Tracking (via VHS and GPS) • Game Counts • Camera trapping • Map and explore the terrain and the environment • Data processing • Work with maintenance and security at the reserve • Feeding cheetahs • Night drives and camping More information about the tasks:

Mapping (Kale, Novo & Mave): The simple basis for any professional management of a wildlife area is a good, accurate map.

Capture Mark Release (Kale):  To understand how wildlife utilise the reserve and how they interact in a challenging and demanding environment requires indirect monitoring techniques such as GPS satellite tracking.

Game Count (Kale & Novo): Herbivores of all sizes are an integral part of African ecosystems. In the vast Namib Desert it will be critical to understand local ungulate population dynamics and migrations to ensure sufficient water supply. At the same time, ungulate populations need to be assessed against the available vegetation to avoid damage to the ecosystem, for example from overgrazing. The volunteers will participate in regular game counts to assist these monitoring efforts.

Radio Telemetry Tracking (Kale & Novo): Collaring animals (predominantly leopard and cheetah) with GPS trackers to follow their day-to-day movements is only one piece of the puzzle though. Days in the field can be long and warm, and a certain amount of walking is often required – but the rewards of finding wildlife in the bush and collecting meaningful information at the same time are unrivalled.

Camera Trapping (Kale, Novo & Mave): During the early resource identification stage as well as during the continuous monitoring of wildlife populations we also rely on “additional eyes” in the form of motion-triggered camera traps. Because the cameras record data 24/7 and every day of the year, they often “observe” wildlife that humans overlook. Moreover, the cameras are non-selective and therefore capture information on all wildlife that pass in front of them, be they carnivores, herbivores, birds or others. This helps the researchers assess which species are present, and where they are most active, especially for animals that are usually very cryptic or entirely nocturnal.

Maintenance and Security (Kale & Novo): Work on a wildlife farm does not end with science and research though. For the ecosystem to function adequately several maintenance activities are compulsory, especially in very dry areas like Kale. Dealing with endangered species, it will be important to conduct regular anti-poaching patrols and other security efforts.

Cheetah Feed (Kale & Novo): Kale and Novo is home to several rescued cheetahs from the Wildlife Sanctuary who live in big enclusure. Volunteers will be involved in the food preparation, feeding and care-taking of these cheetahs as well as frequent enclosure cleanings on a regular basis during their stay.

Departure: Saturdays from Namibia Wildlife (about 8 hours by minibus)

Working hours: 6 days a week Morning: 8: 00-12: 00, Lunch: 12-14: 00-14: 30 Afternoon: 14: 00-14: 30 -17: 00 Accommodation: There are two options of accommodation in Kale; Shared room in a house, with up to three people (same sex) sharing each room, or large tent with a living room and bedroom divided by two volunteers (same sex or couple). The rooms are simple but the beds are comfortable and bedding is provided (blankets and pillows). Showers and toilets are shared and hot water is supplied by solar energy which may cause limited availability. Power outlets for your gadgets are available in all the common areas. Pool is available to enjoy during the hottest hours of the sun Maximum number of volunteers: 12

 

Novo - Focus leopard, cheetah and vineyard

As a volunteer on this project, you are tracking out leopards in the area. There is also a vineyard that you can work on in high season in January and March.

Neuras Vineyard (2) Duties: • Capture, label and release wildlife in the free area • Tracking (via radio and GPS) • Game counts • Camera trapping • Map and explore the terrain and the environment • Data processing • Work with maintenance and security at the reserve • Feeding the cheetahs • Night drives and camping

More information about the tasks:

Novo produces two types of wine on site, a Shiraz and a blend called NamibRed. Volunteers are able to assist in the various components of producing the wine such as harvesting, bottling, and labelling, all of which are done by hand. Even for non-wine drinkers helping with this

process can be extremely rewarding and demonstrates how conservation projects can be sustained through novel approaches.

Maintenance and Security (Kale & Novo): Work on a wildlife farm does not end with science and research though. For the ecosystem to function adequately several maintenance activities are compulsory, especially in very dry areas like Kale. Dealing with endangered species, it will be important to conduct regular anti-poaching patrols and other security efforts.

Cheetah Feed (Kale & Novo): Kale and Novo is home to several rescued cheetahs from the Wildlife Sanctuary who live in big enclusure. Volunteers will be involved in the food preparation, feeding and care-taking of these cheetahs as well as frequent enclosure cleanings on a regular basis during their stay.

Camera Trapping (Kale, Novo & Mave): During the early resource identification stage as well as during the continuous monitoring of wildlife populations we also rely on “additional eyes” in the form of motion-triggered camera traps. Because the cameras record data 24/7 and every day of the year, they often “observe” wildlife that humans overlook. Moreover, the cameras are non-selective and therefore capture information on all wildlife that pass in front of them, be they carnivores, herbivores, birds or others. This helps the researchers assess which species are present, and where they are most active, especially for animals that are usually very cryptic or entirely nocturnal.

Game Count (Kale & Novo): Herbivores of all sizes are an integral part of African ecosystems. In the vast Namib Desert it will be critical to understand local ungulate population dynamics and migrations to ensure sufficient water supply. At the same time, ungulate populations need to be assessed against the available vegetation to avoid damage to the ecosystem, for example from overgrazing. The volunteers will participate in regular game counts to assist these monitoring efforts.

Radio Telemetry Tracking (Kale & Novo): Collaring animals (predominantly leopard and cheetah) with GPS trackers to follow their day-to-day movements is only one piece of the puzzle though. Days in the field can be long and warm, and a certain amount of walking is often required – but the rewards of finding wildlife in the bush and collecting meaningful information at the same time are unrivalled.

Mapping (Kale, Novo & Mave): The simple basis for any professional management of a wildlife area is a good, accurate map.

Departure: Saturdays from Namibia Wildlife (about 4 hours by minibus) Working hours: 6 days a week Morning: 8: 00-12: 00, Lunch: 12-14: 00-14: 30 Afternoon: 14: 00-14: 30 -17: 00 Accommodation: The accommodation at Novo is on a tent campsite, they have six tents with two single beds in each tent and shared bathroom. Maximum number of volunteers: 12

Sanctuary Tent

Mave - Focus Elephants and Wild Dogs Volunteers help to document movements and activities of elephants and the African wild dog in the area so that we can better understand the levels and causes of the conflict between these two animal species and the local people.

Duties: • Camera trapping • GPS monitoring • VHF tracking • Footprint tracking • Conflict Assessment • Community outreach

More information about the tasks:

GPS monitoring (Mave): Currently Mave are monitoring two adult elephant cows which were fitted with GPS satellite tracking collars in 2014. Every morning the information relayed by the collars via satellite must be downloaded in order to monitor the movements of the herd and identify any possible conflict, and/or damage to infrastructure, which may have occurred.

Conflict assessment (Mave): Making detailed records of all occurrences of conflict, whether ´perceived´or actual´, is important in making clear plans for the conservation of endangered wildlife species such as elephant and African wild dog. It is only by understanding the underlying causes of persecution in response to conflict that a coherent and detailed plan can be created which will produce positive and measurable results in conservation. This may take the form of recording and photographing specific conflict incidents such as damage to infrastructure by elephants or the predation of livestock by wild dogs.

Outreach (Mave): Understanding the attitudes of local farmers and landowners towards species such as elephant and African wild dog is essential to producing a clear plan of action for their conservation. Only by actually getting out onto the farmland and talking to locals can we hope to find practicable solutions to the current conflict between humans and wildlife, the result of which is often the indiscriminate persecution of endangered species at the hands of angry locals.

Camera Trapping (Kale, Novo & Mave): During the early resource identification stage as well as during the continuous monitoring of wildlife populations we also rely on “additional eyes” in the form of motion-triggered camera traps. Because the cameras record data 24/7 and every day of the year, they often “observe” wildlife that humans overlook. Moreover, the cameras are non-selective and therefore capture information on all wildlife that pass in front of them, be they carnivores, herbivores, birds or others. This helps the researchers assess which species are present, and where they are most active, especially for animals that are usually very cryptic or entirely nocturnal.

Mapping (Kale, Novo & Mave): The simple basis for any professional management of a wildlife area is a good, accurate map.

Departure: Wednesday from Namibia Wildlife (about 8 hours)

Work: 6 days a week Accommodation: Volunteers and researchers live together in the management's house. The house has electricity and running water. You are lucky to cook dinner in the evening. Maximum number of volunteers: 12

Purpose of the project

The project could not function without the hard work, dedication and time of the volunteers. All funds from volunteers are ploughed back into our projects, enabling the sanctuary to grow and become even more successful in achieving our vision.

Local partner

The project started in 2006 with two aims – to protect and conserve Namibia’s vulnerable wildlife and to improve the lives of the marginalised San Bushman community.

How do I book a trip?

You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website www.volunteertravels.com by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on info@volunteertravels.com. When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of £200.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.

Your everyday life

Introduction

When you arrive at the volunteer site the project staff will give you a introduction to your work and your new surroundings. They will assist you with any of your questions and make sure your off to a good start!

Food

Three meals per day are included, and as a volunteer you're cooking all the food together with your volunteer buddies. On weekends, the project is often a braai (barbecue). Tea and coffee are freely available during the day, and drinks and snacks can be purchased at the farm.

Note that the Internet is not available. See this as an opportunity to "go offline" and enjoy the moment!

Leisure

During your free time you can just relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Explore more

Make the most of your time in this amazing country by combining your project with a tour. Depending on your time and budget, you can choose from a whole variety of trips from 3 days to two weeks or longer.  You could visit the amazing sand dunes and desolate plains of Sossussvlei and the Namib Desert (3 day tour available), as well as the dense bush and open plains of Etosha National Park, the third largest in Africa, for spectacular game viewing (3 day tour available). The staff on the project will help you with any enquiries about excursions and extra activities.

About Namibia

Namibia is a beautiful country with a stunningly diverse array of landscapes. If you volunteer for 4 weeks or more, you may get the opportunity to spend a week at one of the carnivore release sites spread across the beautiful South Namibia - Solitaire, Neuras or NamibRand.

Practical Information

Insurance

It is your responsibility to make sure that your insurance covers illness, injury and theft whilst you are volunteering. Most travel agency’s sell a travel insurance that is valid for volunteer work, so be sure to enquire about it when booking your flight tickets. Volunteer Travels does however, supply liability insurance and is included in the price. Liability insurance applies to instances when compensation for damages is demanded of you, as a private person, for unintentionally hurting someone or for unintentionally damaging someone else’s property.

Visas

To travel to Namibia as a volunteer, you need to apply for a visa, this needs to be applied before departure. Visa is included in the trip price and at the time of booking, we will send you all the necessary information you need to apply for the right kind of visa.

It is important that you apply for visas in good time as the latest, 6 weeks prior to departure. But we can also organize visa the last minute.

The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after return flight, at least 2 free pages. The traveler may need to show a return ticket / ticket to another country upon arrival.

The regulations differs between different countries, so it is important to make all necessary preparations in good time prior to travelling.

Flight

Flight tickets are not included in the tour price. You can book your flight tickets from any travel agency of your choice. You  need to book flight with to Windhoek with return flight home.

The research sites can be booked for any amount of weeks, but the transfers run Saturday to Saturday to and from the Wildlife sanctuary to the research sites and between the two research sites. If you have booked combined trip with Namibia Wildlife project and Carnivore Sancturay. You need to arrive in Windhoek on the same Monday as the programme starts. Your return ticket should also be booked to a Monday. Make sure to check that your tickets have the correct dates, and we will of course provide you with necessary information prior to booking your flights!

Regarding Novo, Mave and Kale, if you only book to do research at the sites, you must arrive on Mondays (project start) or Thursdays (same week at as the projectstartdate) as these are the arrival dates and any other arrival date will incur a extra transfer fee. You will be based on the Namibia Wildlife project until your Saturday transfer to the research site, so if you want to spend less time at the sanctuary then you should come on a Thursday rather than a Monday. Return should be Sunday or Monday, with accommodation based on the sanctuary upon your return from the research sites.

Vaccinations

You should contact your nearest vaccination centre for any questions regarding vaccinations. They will advise you on which vaccinations are necessary to have when travelling to Namibia. Circumstances can change quickly, but it is always you, who makes the final decision about which vaccinations to get. Vaccinating against Hepatitis A and B is recommended always when travelling abroad.

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