Jun 8, 2019

elephant and rhino conservation Zimbabwe

Hey what’s up guys John here for my last volunteer project while I was in Africa, I flew from South Africa to Zimbabwe .

Zimbabwe is a place where I’ve been a couple times before it’s known for spectacular wildlife and Victoria Falls .

This program in Zimbabwe is incredibly special and I’ll let my friends Rob and Morgan tell you a little bit more about it .

Hi I’m Morgan and I’m Rob and we’re from Australia and we’re the volunteer coordinators at the SA’s new program in Zimbabwe .

This project has a big focus on black rhino breeding and conservation we’ve actually successfully bred and released several black rhino back into the wild .

Day today the volunteers are involved with the immediate care of our resident elephant and Rhino and they also see a great deal of what it takes to run a Conservancy in a greater sense .

Now whatever you go overseas to volunteer you want to know that your money is going to a good place at this program you get a lot of up close and personal encounters and hands-on experience with different wildlife but it goes so much deeper than that because you really get to weave yourself into the fabric of the community .

The Conservancy which we work with in currently employs 450 local Zimbabwean people which given the climate that we exist within that’s quite an extensive number of families which are directly impacted by the reserve and directly benefit from what we’re doing here with the volunteer program with the Rhino breedings I think it’s a very impressive place to be involved with them and we’re very lucky to be a part of that in a bigger picture as well .

Each morning we’d start out pretty early we leave volunteer house about six thirty and we go out rhino tracking .

So we go out into the bush looking for black rhino and getting to observe them in their natural habitat on several of the morning’s who are lucky enough to get to see a mother and a baby rhino .

We did have to be careful not to get too close so we can just sit and watch them it was so peaceful getting to see the love in the bond between a mother and a baby rhino I can’t even describe in words what that felt like .

I mentioned before this facility employs over 400 people a lot of the staff live there on-site and a lot of them have small children so every day when we go to feed the Rhinos we would greeted by these happy smiling children .

We got to spend a lot of time with them doing different activities like coloring or just playing and one day we took them out on the game drive so they can see all the animals .

We also did a lot of other fun things like getting to run the practice course of the anti-poaching team uses .

That was hilarious .

Good morning guys it’s another beautiful morning here in Zimbabwe way we just finished scooping some elephant poop but now we’re going to do something fun we’re going to go have breakfast with the elephants .

Best part about this program for me getting the hands-on experience because elephants you go to walk them have breakfast with them it’s just like an amazing experience so surreal to see how big they actually are in person .

It was just so amazing to see the diversity of the different elephants their different personalities and just being so up close to them it’s like really very special .

It all felt very relaxed and very natural and that’s such an important thing whatever you’re doing any activities with animals .

For me the biggest thing about this program is the fact that it is so community focused I love the fact that they incorporate so much of the local people and their culture .

On one of the nights we had a woman that came in and taught us all about the local Shona culture she taught us how to make some of the traditional Shona of food we ate we sang songs we asked her questions and she told us all about her history it was a really nice night .

I read all the comments I get a lot of questions from you guys and often times you want to know why should I pick this program over another one is less legitimate where is the money going those are all great questions this facility is basically like the beating heart of the community and everything that they’re doing is helping not only the wildlife but also the people they’re providing employment for so many people in a place where employment is at an all-time high they’re providing opportunities and teaching skills to a lot of the local people and it’s incredible to know that just by going there just by participating not only you’re helping out the wildlife but you’re doing so much more for the community as a whole and I think that’s the most important thing about this program .