Zimbabwe - Lion Rehabilitation in Antelope Park
Walk and work with lions in the stunning Antelope Park Reserve. Be involved in the research of lion behavior and rehabilitation and work towards releasing them back into the wild.
|Location of Project||Antelope Park, 10km from Gweru, Zimbabwe Midlands|
|Project Length||Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||Bulawayo or Harare Airports|
|Volunteer Work||Management of the lions’ daily needs including food preparation, feeding, maintenance of enclosures and community work and conservation education|
|Number of Participants||Up to 30 international volunteers|
|Age||17 - 70|
|Suitable For||Groups and couples|
|Accommodation||Twin or quad rooms at volunteer camp|
|Food||3 meals a day|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Included on arrival and departure day|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Orientation||All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival|
|Insurance||Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
|Laundry||Weekly laundry service|
What's Not Included
This project takes place at Antelope Park, a private game park located 10km from the Gweru town center, in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands.
About the Project
Over the last 40 years, the African lion population has drastically decreased by 80-90%, from about 200,000 in 1975 to as low as 32,000 today. In an attempt to offset the rapid decline, the Antelope Park lion rehabilitation program works to reintroduce the offspring of captive-bred lions into the wild so they can one day have their own wild-bred offspring, a process that volunteers will learn more about during their involvement with the project.
Spending time with the cubs in the wild each day is an essential part of developing the cubs' natural instincts, which is this project's priority. If the cubs are to be released into a wild environment it is important that they adapt to, learn from, understand, observe, feel, and smell the wild.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
As a volunteer, you will get a chance to learn about and get involved in the three-step process of this lion rehabilitation program: the pre-release stage, the release stage, and the wild stage. Your duties may include the following:
- Join handlers on lion walks in the African bush and watch as the young cubs learn to stalk their prey
- Make toys from natural materials for the young cubs as part of behavioral enrichment to stimulate their predatory and sensory behaviors
- Observe and collect data on the cubs' hunting skills
- Clean lion enclosures
- Prepare meat for the lions
- Sweep snares
A typical day: You'll start off your day bright and early at 6:30 am taking 6-18 month-old cubs on a walk around the bush as you observe and record their hunting skills. After taking a break for breakfast around 8:00 am, you will partake in various duties including cub walking, enclosure cleaning, boundary patrols, meat preparation, snare sweeping, and bush walks. Lunch is at 1:00 pm, followed by afternoon activities, briefing with the volunteer coordinator, and dinner.
Accommodations: Volunteers will be staying in comfortable twin or quad rooms in thatched accommodations at the main reserve camp. Volunteers have separate, clean shower and toilet facilities located adjacent to the sleeping area. The rooms will be cleaned daily by the housekeeping staff. Room upgrades are available at an additional fee.
Food: Volunteers are provided with 3 meals a day. All meals, unless a volunteer gets a packed breakfast for their lion walk, will be served at the main camp
Laundry: Laundry will be washed, ironed, and folded free of charge
Internet: WIFI is available, though can be sporadic due to the remote location
On arrival at the Antelope Park project, you will receive a comprehensive orientation, including:
- Meet and greet with your Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Manager, Scientific Researcher and all senior project staff
- Introduction to Antelope Park and surrounding area
- Overview of the project and volunteer manual, which includes information that will help with your integration into the project
- Familiarization of the work areas – including lion and cub enclosures, rivers, internal roads and tracks, and some of the wildlife species
- Safety briefings and cultural induction
- Any extra training that you will need for volunteer duties such as data capture
- Further information on the lion breeding program and our ultimate objective of releasing lions into the wild
During their stay at Antelope Park, volunteers will have the opportunity to enjoy excursions to some of the other spectacular spots that Zimbabwe has to offer. These trips are also a great time for volunteers to interact and to get to know each other better. Some of the available activities include elephant rides, sunset cruises, horse rides, overnight safaris, and Polo Crosse games.
- Minimum age 17
- Basic English
- Good physical fitness
- Motivation to work with animals
- Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
- Police clearance form