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Elephant Care and Research in South Africa

Join this fantastic project which allows you to work hands on with elephants while contributing to worthwhile research of this amazing species. Live in a beautiful 110 hectare park which is ideally located on the Garden Route which allows you to explore some of South African's best attractions. Volunteers are an important part of the park and its research unit. They enable the park to include more animals in their studies and to study these animals for longer periods of time. Having volunteers to assist with the research has allowed the park to include additional projects into their schedule.

The knowledge gained from this research adds to the advice they are able to provide for the optimal care and management of captive elephants. Volunteers help the elephant staff to feed and care for twelve elephants which is no small task! There is also a personal satisfaction gained when the elephants start to recognise you and trust you; you will become part of the herd! Volunteers act as ambassadors for the park and its elephants by helping to spread the word about elephants and their research, welfare and conservation issues.

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What to Expect?

A fantastic opportunity to work hands on with elephants as well as helping an active research team. The project introduces you to the magnificent African Elephant; you will be caring for these animals as well as researching them creating the elephant experience of a lifetime! The project allows you to work closely with the elephants on a daily basis. This creates an awe-inspiring experience as you will be contributing to all aspects of elephant research, education, husbandry and conservation.

As you are based in a large park, volunteers are able to get involved in all aspects including research, marketing, functions, maintenance, training, and guiding. The research you do will contribute to ongoing research at the park. This is necessary as there is a significant lack of research carried out on captive elephants in South Africa. The project is also ideally located along the Garden Route which offers great prospects for your free time and it the ideal place to start a longer travelling trip.

A typical day Volunteer jobs are varied but include the following elephant care tasks:

* Preparing food for the elephants * Preparing milk bottles and feeding baby elephants (this will depend on when volunteers are at the park and if there are any babies at the time)

* General maintenance eg mucking out pens, general cleaning, painting

* Helping elephant guides during tours

* Environmental education

* Assisting with veterinary care (when necessary)

One of the volunteers main activities will be assisting with research, this depends on the research being conducted at the time but could include monitoring behaviour, recording social interactions, night time observations, botanical surveys, studying feeding behaviour, dung, urine and other sampling for analysis, data input and analysis and the compilation of educational presentations.

During your free time you are encouraged to explore the local area. You may wish to explore the variety of tourist attractions that the Garden Route offers, these include bird sanctuaries, game and nature reserves, Monkeyland, whale watching, bungee jumping, surfing sky diving and many more.

  • Program ID: # 2012
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
  • location:
    Western Cape Western Cape
    South Africa
    34° 4' 39.6732" S, 23° 13' 20.4636" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
  • Closest Airport:
    Cape Town
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs

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