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Volunteers Needed for Rhino Check-Ups

IVHQ volunteer abroad in Victoria Falls wildlife conservation

Following the launch of our Wildlife Conservation project in Victoria Falls we're pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for volunteers to assist in rhino check-ups!

From the 16th to the 25th of June 2014, volunteers in Victoria Falls can join local staff on a private game reserve, and assist while the reserve's rhino population undergo veterinary checks.

These checks take place at the start of winter to coincide with low temperatures, as rhinos are prone to overheating when unable to cool themselves. The rhinos are also at their peak condition in winter, as their food becomes more scarce as the dry winter season proceeds, which means carrying out the check-ups in winter ensures the rhinos can recover from the procedures in the shortest amount of time. 

The check-ups begin by chemically darting the animals out in the bush, after which some of the following procedures will be carried out on the individual rhinos where necessary:

  • Ear notching (for individual identification purposes)
  • Fitting of tracking devices
  • Blood sample collection to test for pathogens, and DNA-based identification
  • Close-up photography of specific body parts, including underside of feet (for Footprint ID kit)

During this time, volunteers will assist with various tasks while the vets are busy with the animals. All volunteers will receive thorough briefings followed by Q&A sessions, and their unique tasks will involve:

  • Helping to keep the animals cool by pouring water over their bodies while they’re sedated, to prevent these large animals from overheating
  • Maintaining vigilance in order to detect possible approaches from other big game in the area
  • Assisting with photography
  • Keeping the animals eyes covered with a light blanket while the Rhinos are sedated
  • Assisting where necessary

This extremely rare opportunity for IVHQ volunteers in Victoria Falls is available from the 16th to the 25th of June 2014.

If you would like to take part in the rhino check-ups as part of the IVHQ Victoria Falls program, apply online to start your volunteer program on the 16th of June.

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