Welgevonden Volunteer Research Programme celebrates one year of operation

By Pip Myram and Greg Canning

July 2016 marks the one-year anniversary of Welgevonden Game Reserve’s own Volunteer Research Programme!

Welgevonden Volunteer Research Programme is a unique volunteer programme run by co-ordinator Greg Canning and his assistant Pip Myram; with over 100 volunteers through the gates of the research camp since it commenced one-year ago!

We’ve been working hard and loving being out in the bush every day, undertaking the field work requirements of the research department. The best part of the job is working with groups of enthusiastic, dynamic and unique individuals who become ambassadors for conservation and gain an understanding of the value of research; a valuable asset for the future of conservation in South Africa.

The volunteers live in a tented camp in the Big 5 Welgevonden Game Reserve, surrounded by bushveld and overlooking an open plain with daily visitors including herds of zebra, wildebeest, elephants, cheetah and lots of beautiful birds. The camp has recently been renovated, with new kitchen and ablutions facilities and an addition of 5 new safari tents to be able to cater more comfortably for large groups.

We pride ourselves in that the project is unique in that volunteers work directly under the reserves senior management and  are involved in as many activities as possible to give them the best experiences and maximise their time on Welgevonden. It is this exclusive nature of the project that assures volunteers the work they do is working towards implementing the best possible management strategies to maintain the reserve’s ecological integrity.

Volunteers and BSc students out on the reserve watching a new born Rhino calf.
We pride ourselves in that the project is unique in that volunteers work directly under the reserves senior management and are involved in as many activities as possible to give them the best experiences and maximise their time on Welgevonden. It is this exclusive nature of the project that assures volunteers the work they do is working towards implementing the best possible management strategies to maintain the reserve’s ecological integrity. Volunteers are exposed first-hand to the running of the reserve by being involved in ecological surveys, experimentation, fire control and management, veld management, game capture, game introduction, and above all are exposed to the highs and lows that all of this entails on a daily basis, and what is required to manage a Big 5 game reserve.

Follow the project online on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/welgevonden.research/ to see our day to day activities and sightings.

Interested in becoming a volunteer at Welgevonden Research? Contact gregory@welgevonden.org for more information.