Game Rangers International (GRI) is a non-profit organization established in Zambia in 2008. GRI works in close partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to empower Rangers and Local Communities to conserve nature. We embrace a holistic approach to conservation across three core thematic areas: Resource Protection, Community Outreach, and Wildlife Rescue.
Volunteers form an invaluable part of the GRI mission. They assist GRI staff in day-to-day operations; living in bush camps, observing elephant behavior, delivering conservation education, and cooking by the campfire, all while surrounded by wildlife – a truly unique experience! Volunteers come from all around the world, and are of all ages and walks of life. We are pleased to announce, GRI is currently accepting applications for the 2019 Volunteer Season!
The following volunteer placement (placement duration is 22 days) works within the Wildlife Rescue Department’s Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP), which is caring for orphaned elephants from around Zambia, most of them victims of poaching and human wildlife conflict.
2 volunteers per month at the Kafue Release Facility based in Kafue National Park.
• Volunteers will have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects focused on the wildlife and elephants present in Kafue National Park, giving them the opportunity to learn and practice valuable in-field research skills.
• Volunteers may participate in utilizing radio telemetry to track the collared release phase elephant orphans; conducting vegetation surveys to understand the seasonal variability in the elephants’ diets; conducting wild elephant surveys using camera traps and transect surveys to generate a database of wild elephant herds present around the Kafue Release Facility; identifying and tracking wildlife through spoor and scat observations.
• Volunteers may assist in the Behavioural Observations Study filming and observing the larger elephant orphans’ behaviour, herd structure, health, and interactions.
• Volunteers are responsible for inputting all data collected in the field as well as entering historical data collected by the elephant keepers about the elephants’ daily bush walks and health.
• Additionally, volunteers may be involved in human elephant conflict mitigation where they may conduct surveys with local community members to understand their views and difficulties with elephants and assist in implementing mitigation techniques.
• Volunteers may also be involved with staff capacity building where they teach a variety of lessons and skills to the camp staff members and keepers.
• Volunteers will start and end their placement at the Elephant Nursery at Lilayi where they will meet the youngest of the elephant orphans and get a full introduction to GRI’s holistic approach to conservation explaining the three branches that comprise GRI: Community Outreach, Wildlife Rescue, and Resource Protection.
Just to avoid any disappointments about working with the elephants as a volunteer, Game Ranger International implements a “hands off” policy in the Elephant Orphanage Project. Due to the nature of our work, whereby we aim to release the elephants back into the wild, we try to minimise the contact between the orphaned elephants and humans, with the exception of their keepers, who care for the elephants around the clock and form close family-like bonds. As a volunteer you will be joining the elephants in the bush to assist in research as well as media updates, however volunteers must keep a minimum distance of 10-metre between themselves and the elephants.
Volunteer placement duration is 22 days. There is no experience necessary to be a volunteer other than a keen interest in wildlife conservation. Volunteer supervisors are based at all three locations, that will provide training and assistance at camp. The costs to participate is USD $2,500 for three weeks. This will be used to cover the costs of volunteers during their stay in Zambia with the project and the remainder will be donated to the corresponding project.
Included during your stay at GRI:
• All project-related transport costs
• Accommodation of the volunteer during the period of the project. Volunteers stay in the tented camps along with the rest of GRI staff.
• Three meals a day (the volunteers help prepare the meals)
• Local staff whom prepare volunteer accommodations, maintain the grounds, and ensure the property is safe and secure
• The documentation required to apply for a business visa
• Experienced staff support, training, and supervision
• Two working t-shirts per volunteer
• National Park Entry Fees
If you are interested in volunteering with GRI please fill out our Volunteer Placement Questionnaire located at https://www.dropbox.com/s/7y2fngobcq75uop/GRI%20Volunteer%20Questionnaire%202019.docx?dl=0
and return to email@example.com with your resume/CV.
• Applicants must be physically fit and able to walk observing elephants for up to 2 hours at a time in the bush. A doctor’s note is required.
• Flexibility is a must as plans are always subject to change when working with wild animals.
• Applicants must work well in a team and get along well with others as you will be working with facility staff, keepers, and volunteers from around the world.
• It is important for volunteers to also be able to work independently on various projects.
• Experience living and working in remote locations/ camping in various environmental conditions. Depending on the month Zambia can be quite hot and/or buggy.
• A strong interest in wildlife conservation, conservation education, and elephants of course!
• A good attitude, effective communication skills, and a good sense of humor are always greatly appreciated when working out in the bush.
• Coursework or experience in the conservation field, environmental education, field research experience, behavioral research, wildlife ecology, or any related field.
• Has other various skills that they would like to share with the team for staff capacity building, such as giving computer lessons.
• Enjoys camp life including cooking outdoors.
GRI accepts two Elephant Orphan Research Volunteers per month from April - November. Applications are reviewed as they are received, therefore we have rolling admission.