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Please note: This program is currently unavailable. Check out a nearby wildlife program in Zimbabwe or our other volunteer programs in Zambia

Over 200,000 lions previously roamed the African continent as recently as 1975. The latest estimates show an 80 - 90% population decline in the last 30 years. The end objective of this project is the reintroduction of the offspring of captive-bred lions into the wild by means of a four-stage process.

This breeding and rehabilitation project is the world's first and is supported by leading ecologists in the field. We invite volunteers to walk and work with African lions, and to be involved in the in-depth research and data-collection activities. Spending time with the lions in the wild each day is an essential part of the cubs' upbringing. If the cubs are to be released into the wild, it is imperative that they spend time in that environment. They need to adapt to it, learn from it, understand, observe, feel, and smell the wild.
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Location of the Project:  Livingstone, Zambia
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI)
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Volunteer Work:  Food preparation, feeding and maintenance, community work
Age:  18-60. Age Exceptions: Volunteers aged 17 may apply with parental consent. Volunteers over the age of 60 require a medical certificate.
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 12 international volunteers
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Important Note:  Volunteers staying longer than 30 days will need to apply for a "temporary employment permit." This costs approximately $250 USD to be paid upon arrival in Zambia. You must be at least 21 years old to be eligible for this visa.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared lodge rooms
Food:  Three meals per day
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is provided upon arrival
Orientation:  Orientation upon arrival includes introductions to staff members, the lions, and project overview.
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (approx. $50 USD), travel health insurance, personal expenses
This project takes place in Livingstone, Zambia. It is located on the outskirts of Livingstone town, a stone's throw away from the magnificent thundering waters of Victoria Falls.
The involvement of volunteers on the project is essential for achieving the conservation aims on all fronts. Volunteers can expect days to be long, but will also be able to end each day knowing that they have given something back to Africa and made a difference to the animals and people that they come into contact with.

Your primary task as a volunteer will be to assist the management and their team of guides, handlers, and scouts in all aspects of care for the animals in their charge; you will help give the animals the opportunities to develop their natural instincts in preparation for their release into the next stage of the program. Research is also a significant part of your role as you will be collecting data on lion behavior and ecology. You will also help us with our various community programs that may include conservation or health education, as well as a number of other projects that you will learn about upon arrival. Volunteers will often be expected to work 7 days per week. 

Your daily tasks may include the following:
  • Research: As part of the program, we conduct a number of research activities to better understand lion behavior and ecology. You will assist our research technician in gathering and analyzing this vital data. The research studies being undertaken while on the placement will vary depending on the needs of the project at the time, but may include looking at hunting development, character traits, spoor sizes, or mane growth. You will receive all the training you need in order to ensure that you are able to provide valuable input to this program, regardless of previous experience.
  • Conservation education: Here you will join our conservation education program, visiting local schools to garner support for conservation through education. The syllabus is designed to offer children a full understanding of their environment and to build an appreciation for the need to conserve what remains of the wild areas of Zambia. Volunteers will be given full support and guidance in lesson planning, and topics may include focus on a specific species or an introduction to conservation methods.
  • Community development: During your placement, you will have the opportunity to be involved in a number of community programs, including conservation education and training in the sustainable use of natural resources. The details of the programs operating at the time of the placement will be given upon arrival. 
A typical day: You will start off the day bright and early at 7:00 am as you join the guides on a lion walk, while recording any data on cub behavior. After breakfast at 9:00 am, you'll be off to either volunteer at the conservation education program or help out with the lion cubs. After a 2-hour break to eat lunch and relax during the hottest part of the day, you will finish off the day with a snare sweep or afternoon lion walk and dinner. 
Internet
Internet:  Internet cafes available in town, and Wifi available at the base for a fee.
Laundry
Laundry:  Weekly laundry service is available for a small fee.. Laundry will be washed, ironed, and folded.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will be staying at a volunteer house on the park grounds. Rooms will be shared with up to 3 others. We can arrange for couples or groups of friends to share rooms.There are two bathrooms in the main house, shared by up to 6 volunteers. The accommodation is simple, but comfortable and completely suited to the volunteers' needs. The lodge has running hot and cold water and electricity.
Food:  Volunteers are provided with 3 meals a day. The food is good quality and nutritious, but should you wish, you can purchase extra items in town at one of the supermarkets.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 17 
  • Police clearance
  • At least 1.55 meters tall (5 feet 1 inch)
  • Basic level of English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
Project Orientation (Included):
On arrival at the Livingstone project, the following orientation will take place:
  • Volunteers will receive their volunteer manual, which includes a thorough introduction to the program.
  • Introduction to all senior project staff and heads of department.
  • Familiarization of the work areas including rivers, internal roads and tracks, and some of the wildlife species.
  • Introduction to the lions and cub enclosures.
  • Briefing on how to complete data capture forms and enter data into the computer systems.
  • Further information on the lion breeding program and our ultimate objective of free releasing lions into the wild.
  • Familiarization with all duties volunteers will be involved in.
Not Included:
Volunteers will get some weekends off to explore the area and go on trips. Although these are not included in your program fee, our staff would be happy to help you arrange exciting excursions for this time. In the past, volunteers have enjoyed:
  • Dinner/sunset cruise on the Zambezi River 
  • 2 night safari in Chobe National Park
  • White water rafting on the Zambezi River
  • Bungee jumping and gorge swings over the Batoka Gorge
  • Helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls
  • 2 night boat cruise along the Zambezi River
Important Note: Volunteers staying longer than 30 days will need to apply for a "temporary employment permit." This costs approximately $250 USD to be paid upon arrival in Zambia.
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