Written by Trina Bellinger, CVT
The experience of a lifetime: if you are looking to gain valuable hands on veterinary experience while traveling to an exotic country and learning about other cultures and societies, this is your opportunity!
I attended the Safari4u Veterinary Program in South Africa last year and want to share my great experience with others who may be looking for a learning adventure.
I volunteered for the 2-week game capture program. This program concentrates on the wildlife veterinary work behind the capture and release of game animals. It includes being involved in every aspect of the process, from planning to immobilization and treatment, then transport and release. There are opportunities to learn about topics like conservation, trophy hunting, and population control through different capture methods by helicopter, curtain, net, dart gun, or cage.
Students/volunteers are trained to provide treatments, monitor vitals, and physically transport a wide variety of species. From the madness of net capture to the precision of dart capture, this was quite an adventure.
What I Learned
I learned the delicate balance of sedation for safe, successful relocation of large African wildlife and the combination of sedation and analgesia required to treat these animals in the field. This class was a great opportunity for me to participate in conservation efforts as well as expand my medical knowledge and comfort level with various exotic animals. Gaining hands on experience with African wildlife and learning the many aspects of game capture, reserves and conservation from an insider’s perspective remains an invaluable experience for me.