African Predator Course

Directed and tutored by a wildlife veterinarian and a lion ecologist and experienced game rangers the 12 day African Predator Course covers the management and care of captive predator populations as well as pertinent topics and challenges in predator conservation in Africa. 

Management of lion populations in captivity

Course Syllabus

Course Dates

  • 2 -13 July 2015

Certification

On completion of the course you will be sent certification of attendance. 

  • Enclosure enrichment
  • Chemical immobilisation of predators
  • Genets and smaller predators
  • Serval and smaller predators
  • Tracking and monitoring lions
  • 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

Tracking and monitoring lions

Tracking and monitoring lions

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 in Captivity

Working alongside an experienced wildlife veterinarian, the course includes a highly practical component at a Predator Park.

The management of captive predator populations

  • Enclosure size and design: Practical work element including the improvement of enclosures and introduction of adequate enrichment structures
  • Participation in routine veterinary care and procedures including vaccinations, the administration of anthelmintics, and the control of internal and external parasites
  • Informative session led by the veterinarian on common diseases in captive predators, both viral and bacterial.

Handling and Care

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

Global White Lion Protection Trust

The course has the unique opportunity to spend time with the White Lion Protection Trust in South Africa’s lowveld. The trust has reintroduced 3 prides of captive born white lions into an area of 4,400 acres of natural bushveld. During your time here you will learn about the carefully phased scientific process used to reintroduce the white lions and integrate them with tawny lions.

Lion Conservation

  • An overview of status, threats and global conservation strategy of African lions
  • Background to the rescue, rehabilitation and reintroduction programme for white lions

Lion Tracking and Monitoring

  • Participate in tracking and monitoring the white lions that have been released
  • Participate in conservation management activities around the reserve

Carnivores in the Ecosystem

    • Overview of the role and importance of carnivores in ecosystems and particularly within the WLT Conservancy (spotted hyaena, cheetah, African wild dog, caracal, serval, African wild cat)
    • Threat of poaching to carnivores, trade in animal parts, exotic animal trade, canned hunting, and role of anti-poaching and how it is carried out.

    Predator Conservation and Society

          • The cultural importance of and beliefs about carnivores, and the critical role of local communities in conserving carnivores

    Kruger National Park - Observing predators in the field

    Full day guided safari in the Kruger National Park to (hopefully!) observe predators in their natural habitat.

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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