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Project Quick Facts
- Species: Many African species, some focus on predators, primates, reptiles and antelope
- Conservation Impact: Animal care & rehabilitation, Veterinary nursing, Conservation education, Predator research & monitoring
- Project availability: All year round
- Rhino Rating:
HELP WITH WILDLIFE CARE, CONSERVATION RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION IN ZIMBABWE
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage is a haven for wild animals who had little hope to survive in the wild. Abandoned, injured and animals born in captivity or raised unsuccessfully are welcomed into a safe rehabilitation and care centre, run by a passionate team who devote their time to ensure this facility is the leading centre for rehabilitation and release in Zimbabwe.
How you can help
- Help with animal care, feeding and husbandry
- Participate in wildlife rehabilitation and release
- Hand rear infant animals
- Assist with routine health and dietary requirements, including worming and vaccinations
- Provide animal enrichment at the orphanage
- Support wildlife research at the centre including data collection of zoological records including physiology and behaviour of species
- Assist with leopard, cheetah and brown hyena population studies and biodiversity studies at the nearby Matopos National Park
- Join the Environmental Programmes Involving Children (EPIC) project to assist in educating local communities, specifically school groups, about their natural heritage and wildlife conservation
By joining this dedicated team, you will be trained to work with carnivores, primates, birds of prey, snakes and domestic farm animals. The centre is currently home to lions, leopard, spotted hyena, serval, jackal, mongoose, kudu, steenbok, warthog, terrapins, crocodiles, vervet and samango monkeys, baboons, bush pig and various owl species.
Chipangali is a registered welfare organisation and famed as one of Africa’s largest and most successful rehabilitation and release centres. Due to the nature of the centre, work is responsive to animal’s needs and as such no two days are ever the same!
WILDLIFE ORPHANAGE AND ANIMAL REHABILITATION CENTRE
As a volunteer, your main duties will include:
- Food preparation and instruction on specialised diets
- Feeding animals. Please note some animals such as the crocodiles are fed only by staff for safety reasons
- Cleaning out enclosures, including large carnivore enclosures
- Assisting with educational tours at the centre for public and local schoolchildren
- Hand rearing infant animals, including feeding, socialising and husbandry of enclosures. This is an incredibly rewarding aspect of the placement, but can also require 24 hour care and support
- Enrichment for animals
- Assisting with routine vaccinations and veterinary care such as worming programmes
The centre provides a link between local and governmental authorities thus being able to offer assistance to local communities and organisations including the SPCA, National Parks and Nature Conservation, to support and develop the correct management and husbandry of Zimbabwe’s native wildlife.
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION RESEARCH
Wildlife research and studies are carried out to assist in providing observational zoological records on development, nutrition and physiology of captive animals to assist in breeding programmes.
The research unit currently study species behaviour, lactation periods, milk composition and dental development of many antelope and carnivore species including cheetah and brown hyena. Such studies are vital for rare populations to apply directly to wild population conservation. The project also supports field studies in National Parks and protected areas to ensure sustainable protection of local heritage and wildlife.
Leopard and Brown Hyena Research Project
In collaboration with the National Parks and Wildlife Authority and international partner The Oregon Zoo Conservation Projects, a detailed study of the ecology and behaviour of the leopard and biodiversity survey of the Matopos National Park is currently taking place. The movements and home ranges of radio collared leopard, cheetah and brown hyena are also being studied in several habitats. If you are joining the project for 4 weeks or longer as a volunteer, you will be involved in these studies and enjoy a few days camping in the bush at Matopos National Park as part of your placement.
The program also involves extensive community environmental education through its Environmental Programmes Involving Children (EPIC ) project. In 2011, the projects educational team reached out to more than 42,000 children through personalised visits to over 60 primary schools. As a volunteer you are given the opportunity to be involved in the EPIC project, in outreach trips to schools in the Bulawayo region and western suburbs, to inspire future generations to protect and care for these vulnerable species and their habitat.
As a registered welfare organisation in Zimbabwe, Chipangali's roots were based on the founder's career in the Zambia government as a tsetse fly operator. Today, the centre provides a dedicated rescue and care service for injured, sick, orphaned, confiscated and abandoned wildlife in Zimbabwe.
The educational team dedicate time to teach children about nature conservation and inspire them to appreciate the wonder and variety of Zimbabwe's indigenous wildlife.
Our partner conservation projects do not condone "cub cuddling": While the wildlife rehabilitation centres provide sanctuary to some predators, they do not breed predators in captivity. Please read our detailed document on "Responsible Predator Conservation" through the link below to find out more about the predators you might encounter at your chosen wildlife rehabilitation project, including why they are there and what your involvement would be.
Prices & Dates
Subject to availability, you can join the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage & Research Project any week of the year.
Placements in 2016 run from Tuesday-Wednesday in Zimbabwe. If you arrange your own flights, you need to arrive at Bulawayo on Tuesday morning. Your placement will finish on Wednesday, back at Bulawayo airport.
Placements in 2017 run from Tuesday-Tuesday in Zimbabwe, or Monday-Wednesday from London.
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NOTE: "2 weeks" duration refers to the length of stay at the project. Therefore, a "2 week" flight inclusive placement is actually 17 days including travel days.
Prices include accommodation, meals, transfers from Bulawayo airport, 24/7 support and financial contributions to the project. Prices are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.
We also accept payment in EUR, CAD, AUD and ZAR. Please ask us for a quote, subject to exchange rates at the time.
You are welcome to volunteer at two or more projects during your stay. These placements are more complicated as they include travel arrangements between the projects, so please ask us for a quote for your desired project combination.
What is a "Rhino Rating"?
The "Rhino Rating" is our way of ranking a project in terms of how challenging it is - both physically and in terms of culture shock, comfort levels and skills required. Please refer to the "Rhino Ratings Explained" section for the general criteria for each rhino rating. The paragraph below explains the method behind our madness in choosing the rhino rating for this particular project.
Why does this project have a "3 rhino" rating?
Chipangali is suitable for anyone with average levels of fitness and physical ability. The work with the animals, although practical, is not too demanding physically as Chipangali has a sizeable team of staff to help with the harder tasks. The predator tracking in the Matopos can involve short walks on uneven terrain. To get the most out of a placement at Chipangali you need to bring some flexibility and an open mind though, with a general willingness to improvise. Accommodation is fairly comfortable in shared cabins, and while there is access to hot water and electricity, this is Zimbabwe - everything is intermittent. This rating consists of 2 rhino for the physical requirements and an additional rhino for the culture shock.
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