Victoria Falls

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Volunteers needed for elephant ops

Volunteers needed for elephant ops

Too many elephants in a confined space can damage the environment
Too many elephants in a confined space can damage the environment


Skype: NCP Operations



Analysis of ongoing elephant monitoring by Nakavango Conservation Programme (NCP) at the Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve reveals that the reserve will start to show reduced ecological carrying capacity for elephant in the near future.

The African elephant is a keystone species and their numbers in a fenced protected area need to be carefully monitored. Should a reserve become overpopulated with elephant, this will have a negative impact on the entire ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Based on research, the aim is to reduce the current elephant population by 5–7% to maintain an ecological equilibrium. Between five and ten bulls will be translocated into neighbouring national parks, depending on the overall elephant population on the reserve at the time and by  moving off bulls specifically, disturbance to breeding herds will be kept to a minimum.

The elephant will be darted with a tranquiliser from a helicopter. Once the animals are recumbent, the game capture team will require plenty of help from Nakavango volunteers – the animals will need to have their vital signs acutely monitored while they are kept cool, have their trunk openings kept open, etc – all during the preparation for mechanical upliftment and subsequent translocation.

Upon arrival at their new home, the elephant will be given an antidote. Volunteers’ participation will be required throughout the operation, which will be managed by the leaders of the ground crew. Volunteers will be working in teams which rotate between assisting the ground crew, ground crew observation and the chance to observe activities from the air in a helicopter.

The operation is scheduled to take place from 3 – 17 August 2016. Nakavango is accepting applications from volunteers now  for the 2016 programme.  Fees charged for the volunteer programme will contribute to the costs of the operation.

The Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve is the only Big Five game reserve in the Victoria Falls region, with many other species of game present. Nakavango volunteers work alongside conservation partners who are leaders in the field: International Anti-Poaching Foundation; Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust and African Wildlife Management and Conservation.


·         3 August: Arrival, orientation, game drive, dinner around fire

·         4 August: Breakfast, morning game drive, Elephant Op briefing with Q&A session, lunch; overnight camping in bush on reserve

·         5 August: breakfast in camp, fence patrol with vehicles, lunch; afternoon: elephant monitoring

·         6 – 7 August: weekend… leisure time – opportunity to enjoy leisure/adventure activities in Victoria Falls

·         8 –12 August: Nakavango 2016 Elephant Op… detailed daily briefings with plan of action, packed lunches; de-briefing, dinner. The entire operation may take less than 5 days, in which case volunteers will assist with other Nakavango Conservation Programme activities.

·         13 – 14 August: weekend… leisure time – opportunity to enjoy activities in town

·         15 August: Breakfast, NCP activity, lunch; NCP activity

·         16 August: Breakfast, visit to community project at local school, lunch; final game drive, farewell dinner

17 August: Breakfast, checkout procedures and feedback; mid-morning transfer to airport