This is a unique opportunity to help in the care and rehabilitation of some of Africa’s most endangered animals including orphaned infant rhinos.
You'll be based on a game reserve in Mpumulanga, working with the dedicated and passionate staff at the sanctuary who are experts in the care of and rehabilitation of endangered wildlife.
You will be involved in hand rearing, caring for and the rehabilitation of the injured and orphaned wildlife at the sanctuary that can include orphaned infant rhino, giraffe, lion, caracel, primates, kudu and antelope to name a few. They will eventually be released to the wild (if possible), otherwise they remain cared for at the sanctuary.
As well as practical training, the expert staff offer educational sessions all about wildlife conservation, care, management and rehabilitation. Volunteers live up close with all the animals and focus on their care and rehabilitation with the ultimate goal of releasing as many as possible back to the wild. No animal in need is ever turned away and this means that you could be working with any number of different species.
You will learn how to do the precise preparation of the formula for the smaller rhinos, lead the bottle-feeding and keep careful records of these rhinos' feeding behavior, weight gain and development. Most of the baby rhinos arrive in a critical condition, often require veterinary care and go through a period of intensive care on arrival. You'll be involved every step of the way, even assisting the vet when required.
The older rhinos are moved into large “bomas” (enclosures) where they are socialised with other rhinos. Volunteers are involved in monitoring the rhino groups to determine their development including their feeding behaviour and the compatibility of the individuals. You'll also help build and clean the enclosures, get involved in anti-poaching measures, and rehabilitating the animals, which involves walking them and playing with them.
After a busy day, there's a chance to relax with your fellow volunteers and there are optional trips at the weekend as well - if you can bear to be away from the rhinos!
This is an amazing career break - not only a wonderful experience for you, but also the knowledge that you're helping to protect some of South Africa's most amazing creatures for years to come.