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Tuli African Research Project
Conduct wildlife research in Africa, studying elephant, lion and leopard in Botswana
Tuli Conservation Project offers you the opportunity to join a dedicated research project in a new approach to wildlife management. Forming part of the Limpopo-Shashe trans frontier conservation area, the core study area allows natural migration of game across historically established national borders. This exciting new concept in wildlife management creates a need for African Conservation Experience volunteers to assist in research of populations moving through this vast wilderness.
Conservation In The Field
Being the southern most free ranging Elephant herd in Africa, the population studied at Tuli are of real scientific value while being notoriously wild! The predator studies are being utilised by local researchers and universities. A volunteer presence creates funding for the project and actively discourages poaching, leading to a notable increase and diversity of species calling Tuli their home.
Video of life as a volunteer at the Tuli Conservation Project.
Watching elephants from a vantage point
Volunteer observing elephants from a koppie (rocky hill)
Elephant with an itchy spot
Researchers and volunteers at Tuli recently managed to trap and collar a leopard and can now track and monitor its movements more closely.
Close up sighting of the elusive leopard
Setting off for the day's work
Volunteer group heading out on the day's survey
Volunteers at Tuli learn to identify a number of wildlife tracks
In the tracking seats
Volunteers who have mastered basic tracking skills earn the privilege of riding in the tracker's seat
Studying an elephant herd
Volunteers at the project study elephant herds in detail and compile identity charts
Volunteers often witness nature at its most authentic moments at Tuli - such as this cheetah kill.
Volunteers frequently climb koppies (hills) to conduct a 360 degree survey from the top.
Elusive hyena are sighted reasonably often at Tuli
Mother and baby elephants
Mother and baby elephants
The Tuli Block is home to large populations of impala
Monitoring wildlife from a hilltop
Surveys from a koppie (hill) are a good way to get an extended view
A resident pride of lions is close to the Tuli camp
Tuli after the rains
The land at TUli undergoes a massive change with the season, turning form dusty plains to lush greenery with the rains.
Clearing the land
Volunteers also help with clearing roads and old fences
Night time sighting of hyena
Night drives are a regular occurrence at the Tuli project
Platform for bush sleep-outs
Volunteers regularly sleep out in the bush - sometimes platforms are used for a bit of extra safety
Tuli volunteer camp
Accommodation is in traditional huts and tents
Work with the wildlife
Living a rustic life, you will learn traditional tracking methodology and research skills. Through game drives, walks, night drives and sleep outs, you will be involved in wildlife research in Africa focussing on the following areas:
Elephants are the key research and monitoring species due to their population density
- Develop identification cards for individual bulls and breeding herds
- Record population numbers, age and gender structure of herds
- Records herd dynamics of around 1200 elephants free roaming the greater Tuli block
- Monitor range utilisation and study seasonal migration patterns
Predator behavioural studies, including key species of leopard, lion, cheetah and hyena.
- Establishing accurate population number and gender ratio of leopard. Determine territory sizes through tracks and sightings collection. Leopards are elusive and sightings can be rare.
- Track the resident lioness and cubs using radio telemetry, and study pride structure and behaviour.
- Monitor movements, numbers, gender and prey selection of cheetah in the core study area.
- Record hyena sightings and den sites.
General game study
- Systematic studies and game counts of baboons, zebra, wildebeest, impala, eland, steenbok, klipspringer, waterbuck, kudu and other game species. Counts include recording data such as sex and age ratios to analyse herd structures, growth rates and seasonal variations.
- Mapping species against vegetation maps.
- Focus on seasonal movements and interactions between prey and predators.
Restoration and maintenance of the bushveld to maximise its suitability for animal species to flourish healthily
- Removal of old fence wire often used in snares
- Erosion control of the gullying effects of the Limpopo River
- Eradication of alien plant vegetation
- Habitat rehabilitation initiatives
Volunteer at Tuli from October through to May and receive up to 10% off your placement cost. This year we are 'Tracking Tuli' through the year and putting the bush life at Tuli Conservation Project and the vital work they carry out in Botswana under the spotlight!
Hear from other volunteers who've visited Tuli African Research Project
David Wright - Gap Year Volunteer
Learning to map populations and herd dynamics... I'll never forget that feeling of being so close to nature. Even beyond the delight of seeing your first elephant or aardvark, there's a much deeper feeling of satisfaction from knowing you are playing such an important part in their protection
Anne Cooper - 50+ Volunteer
The experience, opportunity, friendship and tuition was ageless! I was impressed with how the project was managed and the commitment to local conservation and people... a truly magical place
Being meters away from a leopard which has leapt up a tree with an impala carcass, away from lurking hyenas was only one of the incredible things I studied... Tuli is an enchanting experience, from showering under the stars to watching hundreds of elephants crossing the Limpopo [river]. Not only did I learn more than I could possibly have imagined, about subjects I never knew I was interested in, but really felt I made a valuable contribution to studying an area that is innately wild and uncharted,as well as making some great friends on the way
Tuli provided me with the opportunity to 'escape' my normal life & routine. The variety is wonderful and Stuart's enthusiasm is infectious.
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Click here to find out how you can apply to join one of our conservation placements in southern Africa.
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