Livingstone, Zambia. The project is located on the outskirts of Livingstone town; a stone's throw away from the magnificent thundering waters of Victoria Falls.
About the project
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 Victoria Falls lion project, is the reintroduction of the offspring of captive-bred lions into the wild by means of a four-stage process, which you, as a volunteer, will learn more about during your involvement with the project.
This breeding and rehabilitation project is the World's First and is supported by leading ecologists in this field. We invite volunteers to walk and work with African Lions, and to be involved in the 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 it is important that they spend time in that environment. They need to adapt to it, learn from it, understand, observe, feel and smell the wild.
As a volunteer you will also take part in a research program to better understand the ecology of elephants in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and join the education programs to involve communities in conservation as part of a holistic approach.
On arrival at the Livingstone project, the following orientation will take place:
You will receive your volunteer's manual which includes information that will help with your integration into the project, as well as give you further tips for your involvement at the Livingstone programme
Introduction to all senior project staff and heads of department
Familiarization of the work areas - including rivers, internal roads and tracks and some of the wildlife species
Introduction to the lions and cub enclosures
Briefing on how to complete data capture forms and enter data into the computer systems
Further information on the lion breeding programme and our ultimate objective of free releasing lions into the wild
Familiarization with all duties you will be involved in
Volunteer work and contributionThe involvement of volunteers on the project is paramount to achieving the conservation aims on all fronts. You can expect days to be long, but you will also be able to end each day knowing that you have given something back to Africa; having made a difference to the animals and people that you come into contact with.
Your primary task whilst on placement will be to assist management and their team of guides, handlers and scouts in all aspects of care for the animals in their charge; giving them the opportunities to develop their natural instincts in preparation for their release into the next stage of the program.
Research is a significant part of your role; collecting data not only on the development of the lions, but also joining our elephant monitoring team in the National Park.
You will also help us with our various community programs that may include conservation or health education as well as a number of other projects that you will told about on arrival.
To give you an idea of how your time will be split between the different aspects of the program, the following should be taken as an approximation:
Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program 75%
Conservation work within the National Park 20%
Conservation Education & Community Development 5%
You will be staying at the volunteer house in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park a stone's throw from the lion enclosures and the mighty Zambezi River. Rooming will be sharing with up to 3 others although we try and make sure you do not share a room with more than 2 other volunteers. We can also arrange for couples or groups of friends to share rooms. The accommodation is simple but comfortable and completely suited to your needs.
All your meals, unless you happen to take a packed breakfast into the park on a long lion walk, will be served at the house and are prepared by our chefs.
The house has running hot and cold water and electricity although this is Africa so there are occasional lapses of both!
Not just work...There are a huge number of optional activities and trips that are available to you, at additional cost, whilst on your placement. Here are just a few ideas:
On your time off why not take advantage of the multitude of activities available at Victoria Falls itself, Africa's "adrenaline capital"; there are helicopter or microlight flights over the Falls; bungee jumping; white water rafting; horse rides; elephant rides; game drives; gorge jumps; skydiving; canoeing and a host of other options. There are also day and weekend trips available to the neighbouring countries of Botswana and Zimbabwe.
During your stay in Livingstone you may have the opportunity to enjoy an excursion to some of the other spectacular spots that the region has to offer.
Min age 17 - Max age 80
Good physical fitness
Motivation to work with animals
Full travel & medical insurance
Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
To apply, see Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation