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Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage

Step into the world of wildlife care, conservation research and community education.

This family-run wildlife sanctuary is one of the oldest in Africa and for over four decades has been a place of refuge for animals who couldn’t survive in the wild.

Volunteering here, you’ll get a well-rounded experience of wildlife conservation that extends far beyond animal care and rehabilitation.

In the project’s animal clinic, you’ll find yourself working alongside experienced conservationists to care for injured and sick animals. Through the Epic Kids programme, you’ll help to educate Zimbabwe’s next generation about the vital importance of conservation. You will also get to explore the breathtaking Matopos National Park which is famed for its rhino, leopard and black eagles.

Chipangali is a family-run project and the team always go out of their way to create an easy-going atmosphere.

Rhino Rating

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This tells you how physical the experience is. More >

3 out of 5 rhino rating
Category

Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation

Species

Lion, leopard, baboon, vervet monkey, samango monkey, bush baby, hyena, antelope

Impact

Animal rehabilitation
Veterinary nursing
Conservation education
Predator research and monitoring

Country

  Zimbabwe

  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • Costs

Highlights

One of Africa’s most established wildlife centres

Chipangali has provided a safe haven for sick, injured and abandoned animals for many decades.

Large lion and leopard populations

It’s notoriously difficult to rerelease large carnivores into the wild. But Chipangali provides lifelong care for these animals after they’ve been treated.

Supported by the Zimbabwe National Parks Board

Chipangali has a long history of positive results in wildlife conservation and is recognised by the national government for its achievements.

Variety of experiences

Get involved with animal care, vet work, community education, research, darting and using remote trap cameras.

Explore Zimbabwe

As well as conservation work, you’ll get the time to explore Zimbabwe’s amazing natural ecosystems, including a trip to Victoria Falls.

DO

As a volunteer at Chipangali your role will be very hands-on. Depending on the animals being cared for and your areas of interest, you’ll get involved in the following activities:

Research, monitoring and practical conservation work

With permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Authority and in collaboration with Birmingham Zoo, USA, Chipangali is carrying out a detailed study of the territory and movement patterns of leopards and hyena (both brown and spotted).

  • Set physical traps to dart and collar animals, enabling conservationists to track their movement
  • Research animals’ territory sizes and hunting areas to reduce human-wildlife conflict
  • Set up remote camera traps to monitor wildlife

Veterinary nursing

Volunteers like you are vital to the success and day-to-day running of Care for Wild.

  • Get your hands dirty cleaning and maintaining wildlife enclosures
  • Monitor the social dynamics within the rhino groups
  • Assist with researching rhino stress hormone levels (seasonal)

Rehabilitation, care and husbandry

Most animals arrive at Chipangali with some level of injury or trauma. Depending on your level of experience, you’ll help treat wounds and infections, as well as providing intensive care.

  • Assist with the treatment and care of injured animals
  • Help dress wounds, give medical treatment and monitor sick animals
  • Perform regular health checks
  • Help prepare a nutritious diet
  • Accompany the centre’s wildlife manager into the field to dart animals, when possible

Rehabilitation, care and husbandry

As part of a dedicated team, you’ll help get animals back to full health and where possible prepare them for release back into the wild.

  • Provide long-term care for sanctuary animals (lion, leopard, baboons, vervet monkeys, antelope, jackal, serval, bushpig, birds of prey and reptiles)
  • Deliver target training for predators, a method used by western zoos to calmly move animals for vaccination and enclosure cleaning
  • Prepare animal feeds and provide hands-on help with feeding
  • Enrich animals’ lives through fitness, play and creating a natural setting in captivity
  • Assist in the release of rehabilitated animals into safe and suitable areas
  • Muck-out enclosures to create clean living space for animals
  • Help maintain the centre for tours given to the general public

Community outreach

Chipangali’s Epic Kids Programme will give you the chance to visit local schools help to dispel some negative myths about wild animals.

  • Support staff members who speak the local language
  • Handle animals to show the kids (chameleon, tortoise, hedgehogs, snakes and others)
  • Carry on the project’s legacy, which has already reached more than 350,000 school kids

LEARN

As well as gaining all kinds of practical work experience (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), you’ll also learn about the behaviour, biology and conservation of local species.

Conservation

  • Human-wildlife conflict between predators and local farmers
  • Local superstitions that animals such as snakes and chameleons are evil
  • Rhino poaching in the Matopos National Park – you can also take a day trip to explore this massive problem in more detail
  • Poaching snares – you may see animals come into the sanctuary with snare injuries
  • The economic problems facing Zimbabwe and their impact on wildlife conservation
  • The role of contraceptive implants in captive predators

Ecology

  • The natural habitats of animals you’re working with and their role in the ecosystem
  • Methods for releasing primates in a troop to avoid disrupting their social structure

Biology

  • Physiology and biology of lions, leopards, hyenas and other animals at the centre
  • The diets of predators and other animals, both in the wild and at the centre
  • Wildlife reproduction and taking care of young

Behaviour

  • The behaviours of African animals in the wild and in captivity
  • Methods of enrichment used for different species and how they benefit the animal’s welfare
  • How animals communicate
COSTS

Our costs include:

Accomodation

Internal Flights

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Meals

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

Looking for something bespoke?

You can volunteer at more than one project during your time in Africa. Please contact us for a bespoke quote including travel arrangements between locations.

Payment

Costs are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

Victoria Neild

My experiences at Chipangali and Phinda were absolutely insane. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. The people there topped off the experience and I have so many good memories, I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone - just thinking about my trip makes me want to go back!

Amy Doveston

Chipangali is an amazing family run organisation, run by Kevin & Nicky and their children and I am now best friends with the family. The centre has a great family feel and you quickly bond with all of the other volunteers and I still keep in touch with many of the other volunteers.

Sarah Colin-Stokes

I am a qualified veterinary nurse who decided to go to Africa to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference. I worked at Care for Wild for 2 months and Chipangali for 1 month. Whilst you are there it is important to remember to take a moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there.

What Makes Us Different?

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives

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