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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 
WALK WITH LIONS: THE LION RESEARCH, REHABILITATION AND RELEASE PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONE IN ZAMBIA

ZAMBIA

THE LION RESEARCH, REHABILITATION AND RELEASE PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONE IN ZAMBIA

The alarming rate at which the number of lions in Africa is decreasing is heartbreaking. Current patterns indicate that there will soon be no lions left on the Continent. This program enables you to assist in research and rehabilitation, and to have extremely close encounters with lions!

Your work will assist in helping this project to continue and, over the long term, will also hopefully contribute to preventing the decrease in the lion population in Africa.

"The project was amazing every single day and I can't wait to go back there." Emma Jenkinson

List of ALL PROJECTS in Zambia  BOOK NOW  

SUMMARY FACTFILE
Start Dates All year round - you choose your start and finish dates. Projects start every other Monday. Please see Start Dates for 2015 below.
Duration From 2 weeks to 4 weeks, subject to visa requirements
Requirements No qualifications needed. You should be willing to muck in with anything. Minimum age 17.
NOTE: You must be a minimum of 1.55 metres (5 feet 1 inch) tall to participate on this project.
Price/b> Full Price List
What's included Arranging your Program,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance
Meeting you at the nearest airport/station
Return transfer to the airport
All accommodation
Food
Transfer to and from your project
In-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visa.
Who can do this Project?/span> All projects are open to all nationalities.
Unless otherwise stated, you need to be aged 17 +
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested inanyone interested in animal care and animal conservation and lion rehabilitation.  Also suitable for anyone wanting to study abroad and learn about the practice of conservation and animal care  overseas.
Also available as a summer placement in Zambia or Africa or for someone who can only afford the time to take a short break.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT:

  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the Zambian culture!
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping lions in Africa and knowing that you made a difference to them.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

WALK WITH LIONS: THE LION RESEARCH, REHABILITATION AND RELEASE PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONE IN ZAMBIA

 

WORK CONTENT:
This outstanding project where you'll work hands-on with lion cubs takes place in Livingstone, Zambia. The involvement of volunteers on the project is paramount to achieving our 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.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Work on the world’s leading program for the release of lions back into the wild.

  • Experience the African bush in a very special way as you spend time out in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. You will be actively involved in a number of conservation activities.

  • Immerse yourself in local Zambian culture.

  • Make friends for life with the other international volunteers on the program.

  • Join the conservation education team in local schools giving you a wonderful insight into the community.

  • Optional dventure activities, from white water rafting on the mighty Zambezi River; bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge or a helicopter flight over the Falls.

  • Optional trips to spectacular wildlife areas in neighbouring Botswana or Zimbabwe, including the enormous Hwange National Park, Chobe National Park, walk with Rhino at Matopos National Park and the Lion Program at Gweru Park.

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 the elephant monitoring team in the National Park.

You will also help them with our various community programs that may include conservation or health education as well as a number of other projects that you will be 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%

YOUR DAILY TASKS MAY INCLUDE:

Join the team of professional guides and other dedicated volunteers, gain a deeper understanding of the King of Beasts and assist us in gathering vital information that will facilitate their eventual release back into the wild.

Research. As part of the program they conduct a number of research activities to better understand lion behaviour and ecology. The project offers 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. Volunteers will assist the research technician in gathering and analyzing this vital data. The research studies being undertaken whilst on your placement will vary depending on the needs of the project at the time 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.

Elephant Monitoring. Conflict with humans is a major issue for elephants in the region, but understanding how to mitigate the conflict first requires an understanding of the ecology of the species within the National Park. Volunteers will join the research team to identify individual elephants, to track seasonal changes, score body condition, record location and group sizes; all so that these data can be correlated to crop raiding incidents. Through this program they hope to be able to find patterns in elephant use of the Park to understand why the conflicts arise and therefore be able to provide reasonable solutions to reduce the conflict.

Conservation Education. Volunteers will join the ACT conservation education program visiting local schools to garner support for conservation through education. The syllabus was originally devised under the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) “We Care!” project with lesson plans designed to offer children a full understanding of their environment and to build an appreciation for the need to conserve what remains of the wild areas of Zambia. Each lesson may focus on a specific species or introduce conservation methods. Learning is achieved through a mixture of classroom-based talks and discussion as well as involving the children in smaller groups and practical activities such as visits to the lion program, or Victoria Falls themselves.

A few days prior to each lesson you will work with the team and other volunteers to prepare the lesson plans whilst also receiving training on how best to teach the children that you will meet.

Community Development. During your placement you will have the opportunity to be involved in a number of community programs which may include health education, training in the sustainable use of natural resources or reading classes. The nature of the programs operating at the time of your placement will be given to you on arrival.

START DATES

The start dates for 2016 are:
Jan 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th
Feb 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th
Mar 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th
Apr 4th, 11th, 18th and 25
May 4th, 11th, 17th and25th
Jun 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
Jul 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th
Aug 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th
Sep 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th
Oct 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st
Nov 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th
Dec 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th

The start dates for 2017 are:
Jan: 2nd ,9th, 16th , 23rd and 30th.
Feb: 6th,13th , 20th, and 27th
March: 6th,13th and 27th

THE AIM OF THE PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONE:
To contribute to the welfare and rehabilitation of the cubs as they undertake pre-release training in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park; take part in a research program to better understand the ecology of elephants in the Park and join our conservation education and community programs to involve communities in conservation as part of our holistic approach. Enjoy time spent walking with the lions along the banks of the mighty and beautiful Zambezi river, with the potential of witnessing them chasing down game in the National Park as well as getting involved in important tasks related to the conservation and preservation of this noble beast.

WALK WITH LIONS: THE LION RESEARCH, REHABILITATION AND RELEASE PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONE IN ZAMBIA

WALK WITH LIONS: THE LION RESEARCH, REHABILITATION AND RELEASE PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONE IN ZAMBIA

 

 

ACCOMMODATION:

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.

You will share a room 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.

The house has running hot and cold water and electricity although this is Africa so there are occasional lapses of both!

FOOD:

Food is included on this project. 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.

 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org

MORE ABOUT THE LION BREEDING PROGRAM:

The aim of the Lion breeding program is "To secure and, where possible, restore sustainable lion populations throughout their present and potential range within Eastern and Southern Africa, recognizing their potential to provide substantial ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits." The project plans to do this by completing the following stages:

STAGE 1a
Young cubs born to female lions in breeding programs spend as many daylight hours in the wild, accompanied by trained lion handlers. Guides and volunteers contribute valuable data and observations. This exercise is being carried out in Livingstone, and it is remarkable to observe the development of the natural hunting instincts of the young lions. At 18 months, these lions are able to successfully stalk and bring down a diversity of prey species.

STAGE 1b (only at Gweru Park in Zimbabwe)
Once sub-adult lions have demonstrated hunting skills, they are released into large (approximately 1000 acres) enclosures stocked with prey species. Release periods are planned to be from 3 to 5 days (but currently only a few hours a day), and while the lions are still monitored carefully, their periods of activity and hunting are no longer determined by handlers. At present the Gweru park is periodically releasing 18 month old lions into this enclosure (called ‘Night Lion Orientation’), and results have shown an almost 100% stalk and kill rate with wild antelope.

STAGE 2
From stage 1b, lions now used to hunt entirely for themselves will be translocated to fenced mini-ecosystems where:

1. There are no other lions except for simultaneously introduced, opposite sex groups to promote breeding;
2. There are no resident human beings;
3. There is a sufficient diversity of prey species for the lions to hunt;
4. There is sufficient space (5,000 to 10,000 acres) within fenced areas to maintain the lions – such areas will be sourced in various African countries.

STAGE 3
The offspring of lions born to Stage 2 lions and therefore raised in a totally natural environment, can be slowly introduced into appropriate protected areas. With the economic situation of many African countries in a stage of revival, there is a desire to restore and reconstruct wildlife areas to vitally contribute to national economies. The Lion Encounter has already received many requests to assist in lion reintroduction.

As heartbreaking as it is, the lions of Africa are decreasing at an alarming rate. Current patterns indicate that within a very short time there will be no lions left on this continent. Factors that affect the decreasing number of lions include rampant poaching, uncontrolled (and "canned") hunting and diminishing natural habitats. Diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which leads to lions contracting Bovine Tuberculosis, are another killer of these wonderful animals. A recent headline in the South African Sunday Times read 'Kruger lions dying like flies'. The cause - incurable bovine tuberculosis. Of 33 lions tranquillized and tested, 32 lions were TB positive. Forecasts are that it is possible that within 5 years, 95% of the Kruger lions will have died from TB.

The project leaders who own these projects feel passionately about the state of the lion population in Africa. As a result they run a Lion Breeding Program with the express objectives of preserving the African lions by producing a quality gene pool and rebuilding the diminishing numbers of lions, and also reintroducing the offspring back into the wild in environments where they will have the best possible opportunity for survival and a good quality of life.

Having started with just six lions and run-down, only partially fenced facilities, they have built the program into a magnificent Game Reserve and Lion Breeding facility. Since 1987 new bloodlines have been imported from Tanzania and various other captive breeding units in Zimbabwe and a strictly monitored breeding program was commenced to ensure that no in-breeding took place. DNA and TB tests were carried out with the assistance of a veterinarian attached to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the lions are regularly vaccinated against Rabies.

There are currently around 50 lions of various ages within the Gweru park in Zimbabwe. The aim is to build up a gene-pool for other breeding programmes in Africa and the rest of the world, and in 1999 alone, over 20 lions were exported to a similar facility in South Africa, a step in the direction of fighting to ensure the survival of these Kings of the Jungle. The owners firmly believe that controlled re-introduction of the offspring of captive bred lions into the wild can succeed and enable them to live in their natural environment

The lion breeding program is mainly funded by tourist facilities, such as the Lion Walk, swimming with elephants, etc. Without this funding the Lion Breeding Program couldn't exist.

Our volunteers' work assists in helping this project to continue and, over the long term, will also hopefully contribute to the helping to prevent the decrease in the lion population in Africa.

The owners of the Gweru park in Zimbabwe have followed on from their experiences and have started the Lion Walking Project at Victoria Falls and Livingstone. These locations are ideal for tourism - as they are the main financial backer for the project it is an excellent location to draw additional funds and spread the word about the plight of the African Lion.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT:
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure!

Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity! 

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:

When you arrive, you'll be welcomed by our in-country Organiser who will pick you up at the airport and take you to the accommodation, where you'll be introduced to everyone.He will show you the nearby facilities such as banks, pharmacy, food and beverage outlets etc. You will be made to feel very welcome by all.

Your adventure has begun :-)

 

Feedback on the Lion Rehabilitation and Release Project in Zambia with Travellers Worldwide


Victoria Falls, about 20 minutes from Livingstone

Bridge Over Victoria Falls near Livingstone - Rainbows gather in the mist at this popular Bungee Jumping spot!
Bridge Over Victoria Falls near Livingstone - Rainbows gather in the mist at this popular Bungee Jumping spot!

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience.

Coming soon

Any project in Zambia can also be combined with any of our other projects in Zambia - thus turbo-boosting your adventure and enjoyment! We would also recommend this combined with any of our Care projects in South Africa


LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:

LOCATION
All our projects take place in Livingstone town, a quaint but lively area very close to Victoria Falls. You'll have plenty of opportunities to participate in the multitude of activities that surround the Falls, from white-water rafting and canoeing on the magnificent Zambezi River to bungy-jumping or game spotting in the Reserve.

LIVINGSTONE
Livingstone is a fun town where tourists come for adventure, sports and an adrenalin kick. It's very close to the awesome Victoria Falls and the powerful Zambezi River. Water sports are everywhere!

Livingstone is the capital of the Southern Province and is situated just north of the Zambezi River, which forms the border with Zimbabwe. It is a major tourist center serving visitors to the Falls, but the main streets of this colonial town, Mosi-oa-Tunya, are lined with classic colonial buildings, with Victorian tin roofed houses and wooden verandas.

The spectacular Victoria Falls Bridge is only about 10km away from Livingstone, and the area surrounding the Falls and Livingstone town have given it the name of ‘adrenaline capital of the world’.

Local attractions include not only the impressive Victoria Falls, but also Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, located adjacent to Victoria Falls, and Livingstone Game Park. Livingstone Museum has displays of historical African artefacts and memorabilia related to Scottish missionary David Livingstone and his exploration of the region in the 1850s.

THINGS YOU CAN DO - ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES

Zambia encompasses everything magnificent about Africa - wildlife, birds, safaris, lakes, rivers, culture and adventure sports!

White water rafting is a must! If you are keen for the ultimate thrill then a multi-day trip along the Zambezi is it! The Zambezi provides the best rafting trip on the planet! You'll crash through some of the biggest commercially run rapids in the world. Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its twenty three whitewater rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller coaster ride along a route carved over millenia by the Great Zambezi.

Bungee Jumping for the very brave: The highest commercial bridge jump in the world in the most spectacular setting over the Zambezi River! This must be the ultimate adrenaline rush. It’s an indescribable feeling that will probably change your life !

And more: You can do riverboarding, abseiling, kayaking, canoeing, walking safaris, fishing, flights over Victoria Falls, quadbiking, golf and scuba diving. This is a real adventure playground!

The terrain is mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains, and the flora in Zambia is amongst the best in the world. The great Zambezi River also forms a natural riverine boundary with Zimbabwe, making Zambia one of the most beautiful countries to visit.

Along the southern border of the country stretches Lake Kariba, the largest man made lake in Africa and the second largest in the world. It is about 280kms long and 40kms across at its widest point.

"It is an unbelievable experience to go down the river on a boat and watch a herd of elephant bathing in the shallows and throwing water in their with their trunks while they keep a wary eye on you to ensure you don't get too close to their babies - it's an experience you never forget. I never have!"

TRAVEL:
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.

 

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