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Zimbabwe

Antelope Park Lion Rehabilitation Project - Zimbabwe

Work with African lions cubs including taking them for a walk in the African bush!

Antelope Park is an established and well respected game park in central Zimbabwe. Combine your trip with a visit to Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

Set on this stunning exclusive private game reserve, you will have the unique opportunity to walk and work with lions, exposing the cubs to the African bush as they hone their natural skills. Be involved in the research of lions’ behaviour and work with us on the world’s only programme for their release into the wild. Also assist with orphaned Elephants and the wildlife management and boundary patrols of the reserve.

There are also opportunities to canoe and fish in the river situated along the campsite as well as ride horses and partake in other amazing activities the Park has on offer. Antelope Park has been chosen as one of Southern Africa's most intriguing destinations among other places like Singita Pamushana and The Royal Zambezi Lodge.

Six Great Reasons to Become a Smaller Earth Antelope Park Volunteer

  • Spend time every day walking with the lions in the wild
  • Bottle feed and help take care of younger lion cubs
  • Explore the savannah grasslands either on horseback or whilst riding on African Elephants
  • Walk alongside lions as part of the pride and enjoy the exhilaration of being part of a hunt as the young cubs learn to stalk their prey;
  • Work on the world’s leading programme for the release of lions back into the wild;
  • Undertake important research on the behaviour of the African Lion;

Volunteering with Lions in Zimbabwe

Over 200,000 lions used to roam the African continent, as recently as 1975. The latest estimates show an 80 – 90% population decline in the last 30 years. The end objective of the programme, is the reintroduction of offspring from captive-bred lions into the wild by means of a four-stage process, which you will learn more about during your involvement with the project.

This breeding and rehabilitation project is a World First and is supported by leading ecologists in this field. We invite you to walk and work with African Lions, and to be involved in in-depth research and data-collection activities. Spending time with the lions in the wild each day is an essential part of the cub’s upbringing. If the cubs are to be released into a wild environment they need to adapt to it, learn from it, understand, observe, feel and smell the wild. Since the start of this intensive programme, we have noted a marked increase in the Lions’ awareness of their natural surroundings, as well as an improvement in their hunting skills.

Lion Walks:

Alongside the walks you will be involved in the care of the animals which overnight in enclosures. They need feeding, cleaning, and occasionally will need veterinary care to ensure that they are kept in the best of health. Join a team of professional guides and other dedicated volunteers, gain a deeper understanding of the King of Beasts and help gather vital information that will lead to their eventual release back into the wild.

Research:

As part of the program we conduct a number of research activities to better understand lion behaviour and ecology. The lion walks offer unique opportunities to observe lions close up in their natural environment with the data collected assisting us to make the best decisions for the animal’s welfare and eventual release. The research studies undertaken on your placement will vary but may include looking at hunting development, character traits, spoor sizes or mane growth. You will receive all the training you need in order to ensure that you are able to provide valuable input to this program regardless of previous experience.

Elephants:

You will also have the opportunity to spend time with our orphaned African Elephants and their trainers. The elephants at Antelope Park were saved from certain death during a severe drought that ravaged Zimbabwe’s South Eastern Lowveld in 1991 and 1992.The elephants play an important role in the Antelope Park’s activities schedule. You may be asked to assist in the daily duties with the elephants.

Free Roaming Wildlife:

The few remaining areas of wildlife sanctuary in Zimbabwe are extremely precious and must at all costs be protected. Part of your project will involve assistance with the wildlife management scheme such as finding and removing snares (‘snare sweeps’) within the game park and checking for holes or fence cuttings on the boundary fence (‘Boundary Patrols’) and repairing them. These activities are usually conducted on foot, within the Park and accompanied by one of our trained guides.

Other duties at the game park include:

Cleaning the lion enclosures; preparing meat for the lions; building and painting new lion enclosures; cutting and collecting firewood; daily schooling and exercising of horses; basic repairs and maintenance; fire brakes; any other wildlife or camp related activities that involve the assistance and development of the lion programme.

There is also an opportunity to visit children at a local orphanage and interact with them. They love to have the care and attention shown to them that they so richly deserve.

Duration: 
from 2 weeks

Gap Year Vitals

  • Location: Zimbabwe
  • Duration: from 2 weeks
  • Price: £1320 for 2 weeks

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