Shimongwe volunteers Amy and Allison get up close to cheetah!
Cheetah and leopard populations are unique as they are very hard to contain within a reserve, meaning most populations occur outside of the reserves. Both cat species can get through game-proof fences, resulting in a greater risk of human conflict – which can be lethal for the animals. This increases their chances of getting injured, making it vital to have wildlife veterinarians in the area. Veterinary work is essential to the preservation and protection of rare and endangered species endemic to Africa.
Dr Masterson’s volunteers at Kwa-Zulu Veterinary Experience join in the day-to-day activities of a wildlife veterinarian in the field, as well as assisting with the treatment and physical handling of animals. The vet is also hand-rearing two orphan rhinos – Mkombe and Nyoni.
Shimongwe Kwa-zulu Wildlife Veterinary Experience is ideal for current and prospective veterinary students. Dr Masterson works closely alongside the Phinda research team, allowing volunteers to work with the ‘Big 5’.
If you are passionate about conservation research, you may also be interested in volunteering at Phinda Wildlife Research Project, based on the reserve where the cheetahs, mentioned in the story above, were found.
Phinda Game Reserve has a research team looking at various aspects of southern African wildlife. The research team at Phinda also assists in contraceptive programmes for lions and elephants as an ethical alternative to culling. They are also involved with cheetah, rhino, elephant, and leopard monitoring, which includes tracking and darting individuals for data collection. All of the work – both research and veterinary – that occurs within Phinda Game Reserve is necessary for the conservation of southern Africa’s wildlife which depends on hard-working volunteers.