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Project Quick Facts
- Species: Horses & Rhinos!
- Conservation Impact: Poaching prevention, Equine care
- Project availability: Mid January - Mid December
- Rhino Rating:
RHINO AND RACEHORSES - ONE SPECIES' RACE TO SAVE ANOTHER!
Join a new and innovative Mounted Anti-Poaching Unit in the stunning South African bush and put your riding skills to unique conservation benefit.
Within the beautiful landscape of the wildlife prolific greater Kruger area, an amalgamation of ten farms have dropped their fences and adopted wildlife as their primary focus. Within the conservancy a unique partnering with six ex-racehorses is assisting in the protection of Africa's white and black rhino.
Partnering with Rhino Revolution, this programme addresses the short term need for rhino protection while demonstrating to the broader community the value of wildlife in sustainable conservation strategies.
How you can help
- Join mounted guards of the Mounted Anti-Poaching Unit for fence line patrols
- Conduct extensive patrols of a large conservancy on horseback and by vehicle
- Learn tracking techniques from horseback
- Carry out ongoing black and white rhino tracking and identification
- Help with continual rehabilitation and training a herd of six ex-racehorses in the African bush
- Take responsibility for daily equine husbandry, tack and yard maintenance
This programme is aimed at competent riders who can safely control spirited horses. It is essential that a conservation traveller wishing to partake in this project be currently riding and able to safely control a horse who may spook to reactions and movements in the bush. You must be comfortable in all gaits from walk to gallop.
The ex-racehorses at Hanchi have been re-homed with a successful and established racehorse trainer. The horses have recently relocated from Zimbabwe to provide the power behind this new initiative. The herd are well bred thoroughbreds having won 37 races between them, aged between 7-10 years with the majority over 16.3hh. You must therefore be capable and confident to handle such horses from the ground in addition to riding.
WORK WITH THE WILDLIFE
Mounted Anti-Poaching Unit
- The herd are foremost a mounted Anti-Poaching patrol team, and you will ride daily fence patrols, often riding over rough terrain and traversing thick natural bushveld.
- Due to the size of the extended conservancy, riders and the Mounted Anti-Poaching Unit will overnight at purpose built fly camps within the greater conservancy, sleeping out in the bush and caring for the horses in temporary camps.
Tracking Techniques and Skills
- Learn traditional tracking techniques on the ground from a qualified FGASA/BOTA instructor.
- Continue tracking skills from horseback, using the higher position to gain better sightings and distance. The unique disposition and heightened senses of ex-racehorses allow for efficient and quiet recognition of any poachers or unusual contexts.
- The regal presence of these ex-racehorses provides a formidable deterrent to any poacher and creates awareness of the unprecedented poaching issue.
- While carrying out anti-poaching initiatives, you will monitor key species populations on the reserve, their movements and behavioural factors.
- Join Rhino Revolution and assist with the ongoing rhino monitoring programme.
- Supplementary monitoring of key species will take place from game drive vehicles. Currently conservation travellers will be involved in a leopard habituation programme on the reserve.
Equine Husbandry and Care
- The herd's original and experienced racing grooms travelled with them from their heritage home of Zimbabwe and teach conservation travellers the daily care and husbandry of the herd as they adapt to the bush.
- Parasite control to prevent diseases.
- Equine tack and yard maintenance.
CONSERVATION IN THE FIELD
The reserve's Mounted Anti Poaching Unit is a great success. Since its initiation in 2012, not one rhino has been lost to poaching. The ex-racehorses provide an undeniable presence to poachers, fearing the larger racehorses themselves, while the horses provide a holistic and quiet approach to anti poaching work and unique ability to traverse difficult terrain.
"The Hanchi volunteers have added a new dimension to the efficiency of the Blue Canyon Mounted Anti-Poaching unit. Their unrivalled enthusiasm and dedication to the project turns the daily grind into an enjoyable event and the constant stream of new eyes and ears allows for an ever alert team of guards on the ground." Blue Canyon Anti Poaching Unit
Prices & Dates
Subject to availability, you can join the Hanchi Horseback Conservation Project any week from mid-January to mid-December.
Placements in 2016 run from Tuesday-Wednesday in South Africa. If you arrange your own flights, you need to arrive at Johannesburg airport by 9 am on Tuesday morning. Your placement will finish on Wednesday evening, back at Johannesburg airport.
Placements in 2017 run from Tuesday-Tuesday in South Africa, or Monday-Wednesday from London.
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Prices include accommodation, meals, transfers from Johannesburg 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?
The Hanchi Horseback Conservation Project is only suitable for competent riders. You are likely to be in the saddle for a few hours a day. While you need to be a confident rider, most of the riding will be at a slow pace - You'll be better able to spot the wildlife tracks! You will also help with grooming the horses. Accommodation is variable: You will move between a tented bush camp with solar power and a comfortable lodge.
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