Wildlife monitoring is an essential part of keeping track of animal movement patterns, habitat utilization, and population demographics. More importantly, it provides early identification of snaring and poaching incidents of endangered wildlife species. This valuable information, which volunteers are essential in the gathering of, has numerous management applications. These include planning successful introduction and removal strategies for endangered and priority species.
The Zululand Wildlife Conservation project undertakes vital monitoring of endangered species in collaboration with local conservation authorities and NGO’s, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, the WWF, Wildlands Conservation Trust, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project and the KZN Wild Dog Management Group.
The project's staff are highly qualified and focused on real conservation work, working tirelessly to ensure the protection of endangered species. This project is unique, in that it actively advances conservation by initiating, implementing and managing monitoring projects on reserves which do not have existing monitoring programs in place and by taking over existing monitoring projects on reserves that can no longer fund or manage them.
There is a common misconception that volunteering abroad must be a good thing and will positively benefit not just the volunteer but the host community and those involved. Unfortunately this is not always the case. The increased demand for volunteer placements in developing countries has been met by an influx of new projects and volunteer-sending organisations created purely to meet this demand. The result may cause devastating effects to local culture and result in the exploitation of both the volunteer and the host community.
This project strives to adhere to the strict Responsible Travel policy, and has been developed so that it addresses actual local needs and has the community’s needs at its heart. Understanding and respecting the host community is paramount to the success of any project as long term commitment, support and adoption of sound environment, economic and social practices. This project employs as many local people possible, making it sustainable socially as well as environmentally.