African Predator Course

Directed and tutored by wildlife veterinarians, breeders and predator specialists, the 10 day Predator Course covers the management of captive cheetah and lion populations, and other smaller predators.

Management of lion populations in captivity

Course Syllabus

Course Dates

  • 6-15 July 2014
  • 5-14 July 2015

Certification

On completion of the course you will be sent certification of attendance. Each participant will also receive a memory stick of all lectures and theoretical studies during the course.

  • Enclosure enrichment
  • Chemical immobilisation of predators
  • Genets and smaller predators
  • Serval and smaller predators
  • Nutrition and feeding
  • Hand rearing predator cubs
  • Caracal development
  • Cheetah family
  • Suitability of breeding adults
  • Cheetah cubs
  • Sedation and preparation of darts
  • Chemical capture

Enclosure enrichment

Enclosure design and enrichment is explored on the course to assist in the display of natural behaviours and contribute to a healthy breeding population.

Enclosure enrichment

Chemical immobilisation of predators

Chemical immobilisation of lions and cheetah requires veterinary assistance and the use of specific high schedule drugs.

Chemical immobilisation of predators

Genets and smaller predators

The course focusses on both lion and cheetah, however the management of genets, caracals, servals and other smaller predators are also covered.

Genets and smaller predators

Serval and smaller predators

Lectures and practical sessions with smaller predator populations such as servals enables participants to focus on species specific needs.

Serval and smaller predators

Nutrition and feeding

Correct nutrition of cubs is vital for correct development in captive populations.

Nutrition and feeding

Hand rearing predator cubs

Supplemental feeding and hand rearing of cubs requires careful management.

Hand rearing predator cubs

Caracal development

Monitoring development such as growth and tooth length is vital in managing captive populations.

Caracal development

Cheetah family

Discussions on predator conservation as a wider topic and the role of breeding programmes within this will also be explored as part of the course.

Cheetah family

Suitability of breeding adults

Evaluation of male fertility and signs of oestrus in females are indicators which need analysis prior to introducing predators into a breeding programme.

Suitability of breeding adults

Cheetah cubs

Management of mother and cubs in captivity forms part of the syllabus of the course.

Cheetah cubs

Sedation and preparation of darts

The use of the veterinary dart gun for sedation and tranquillisation is covered on the course, including handling of the gun and preparation of the darts.

Sedation and preparation of darts

Chemical capture

Chemical capture and immobilisation of predators is critical for safe translocations and movements. The course will explore the correct use of the dart gun and safe set up.

Chemical capture

Predator Management

An exciting new addition to our courses, this 10 day Predator Course is directed and tutored by wildlife veterinarians, breeders and predator specialists, covering all aspects of the management of captive cheetah and lion populations and other smaller predators.

The management of captive predator populations

  • Enclosure size and design
  • Nutrition of cubs, sub adults and adult cats
  • Supplemental feeding
  • Routine vaccinations, the administration of anthelmintics, and the control of internal and external parasites 
  • Diseases, both viral and bacterial. What causes mortalities?
  • Hand rearing of cubs

Captive Breeding

  • Separation of breeding males and females
  • Introduction of pairs
  • Choice of animals to be used in breeding programmes
  • Evaluation of male fertility
  • Signs of oestrus
  • Pregnancy diagnosis
  • Nutrition during pregnancy
  • Management of parturient females
  • Management of mother and cubs

Handling and Care

  • Capture by mechanical means and use of dart gun
  • Chemical immobilisation - the role of veterinary and staff
  • Tranquillisation and sedation

Problems of captive predator populations 

Open discussions on predator conservation and management

Khulula Care for Wild

  • Practical care and husbandry of captive predator populations

Kruger National Park day trip

Predator Programme History

During the early 1970s it became clear that the maintenance of biodiversity on earth should be given attention. Studies were undertaken under the auspices of the IUCN to determine the status of species and this lead to the development and acceptance of the ‘Convention for the international trade in endangered species’ (CITES) which was signed by approximately 140 nations in 1973.

The early classification of cheetahs as an endangered species, under the convention, lead to an anomalous circumstance in which the animal was classified under appendix 1 but also regarded as vermin in the pastoral farming areas of this country.

The numbers of free-ranging cheetahs in Africa are limited by the loss of suitable habitat, the reduction of its prey species and its persecution by pastoral farmers. When attention was given to its status it was felt that apart from the limiting factors in the field, it was a species that did not breed effectively in captivity. We know today that this is not the case and the animal has been bred in captivity in large numbers to the extent that the captive population in South Africa is probably greater than those found in the wild.

There are several large predator breeding centres in this country and the production of these animals ensures that zoos throughout the world can acquire cats for their collections without taking animals from the wild.

This course deals with the captive management and breeding of lion, cheetahs and other smaller predator populations in captivity and covers aspects that are specific to the species which are essential in maintaining the health of captive animals.

The first half of the course will be an intensive practical and theoretical course based at private reserves in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Following this participants will travel to Khulula Care for Wild’s centre to experience the practical element of predator hand rearing, care and nutrition, including management of the species.

A day trip to Kruger National Park will provide a chance to discuss the management of larger breeding groups and their wider conservation in southern Africa, and worldwide

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Your placement cost includes return flights and carbon offsets (if selected), return transfers from Johannesburg Airport to your project, all accommodation, meals (at most projects), transfers between projects if you are volunteering at more than one project, the 24 hour support of our South African ground manager, ACE T-Shirts, and, of course, the contributions to the projects, without which they could not operate. Read more about the costs, where your money goes and financing your volunteering placement here