Volunteer With Leopards

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, to conduct Leopard density estimate surveys within South Africa. This involves conducting a number of exciting, short-term Leopard Population Surveys using remote camera trapping survey methods. The survey is one of the largest on Leopards of its kind in the world where we’re working together with provincial protected areas to help inform management to improve Leopard conservation.

Everything you need to know

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, to conduct Leopard density estimate surveys within South Africa. This involves conducting a number of exciting, short-term Leopard Population Surveys using remote camera trapping survey methods. The survey is one of the largest on Leopards of its kind in the world where we’re working together with provincial protected areas to help inform management to improve Leopard conservation.

Prices in:
ZAR

Price

R

28800

Duration

2 weeks +

type

Volunteer

Requirements

Ages: 18 - 65+

Please Note: We are NOT currently accepting any further applications for the Leopard Survey, and encourage participants to join in our award-winning Endangered Species programme. However, if you are particularly interested in the Leopard Survey please motivate your request by contacting danielle@wildlifeact.com

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, to conduct Leopard density estimate surveys within South Africa using remote camera trapping methods. The survey is one of the largest on leopards of its kind in the world, where we’re working together with provincial parks to help inform management to improve leopard conservation.

Leopard management is typically guided more by experience or anecdote, than hard science. This project aims to collect real data on leopard population trends which can inform management decisions and assess the impacts of conservation actions.

Wildlife ACT volunteers assist with the leopard monitoring in KwaZulu-Natal. This involves setting up, maintaining, and taking down the cameras at different locations, checking the SD cards and recording data as well as helping with identikits for each animal if necessary. Volunteers also help collate the photographs of non-target, priority species (Black and White Rhino, Elephant, Lion, Cheetah, Wild Dog) for management and monitoring purposes.

Wildlife ACT volunteers can select this project in conjunction with the Endangered Species Conservation project. Most volunteers who come for more than two weeks spend two weeks on the Leopard Survey project and then do a multiple of two-week sessions on the other Wildlife ACT project sites in Zululand.

Leopard-Icon

Wildlife ACT’s main focus on these short-term Survey projects involves setting up and or taking down the motion sensor cameras at different locations – (note that this occurs at the beginning and end of each survey – which lasts for a 2-month period). The ongoing fieldwork for the Leopard Survey team involves driving to each camera site within the reserve. At each of the sites the team will check to see that the cameras are active and are still attached to the poles correctly to get the best leopard photos. (The cameras may have been bumped off by curious animals).

The team will change the batteries and download the images from the cameras on to a USB device to work through back at the camp. There may also be a need to clear some vegetation or make natural barriers to protect the cameras and their very important data from inquisitive animals. Incidental monitoring of any other priority species animals on the reserve will be recorded as incidental sightings, during the course of performing the camera trap fieldwork.

Back at camp the team will download all the photos collected and then start the very important task of sorting and categorizing them into different Priority Species Folders.  This may take some time behind a computer at camp, however by doing this you will be greatly assisting the reserve with crucial data for optimal management of the wildlife area.

Free Time

Camera download days are usually only 4 days of the week. The camera downloads take on average 4 – 7 hours on any given day. Once the selected camera-sites have been downloaded for the day and the photographs have been correctly catalogued, you will have some free time.

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organization, Panthera, to conduct Leopard population surveys within KwaZulu-Natal. This project was started due to increasing persecution outside of game reserves causing the Leopard populations within protected areas to decline. In response to this Panthera, together with Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, worked together to rewrite legislation regulating the trophy hunting and control of Leopards that may enter outside communities.

This project is continued, now with the aid of Wildlife ACT, to ensure that the new regulations are adhered to and are sustainable for the years to come. For more information visit the Panthera website.

With the use of Camera Trap Surveys we are able to estimate the density and gauge population trends over time. At specifically chosen reserves, the project sets up a minimum of 30 camera-trap stations, each of which has two camera-traps (to capture the left- and right-hand side of the animal). The stations are set-up along roads, animal paths and other areas (such as riverbeds or drainage lines) which Leopards may frequent.

The surveys are spread across an area that covers 100 – 120 km2 and runs for 50 days before moving to a different reserve. Estimates of Leopard population size in any given area are determined using capture-recapture models which is why this survey will run within KwaZulu-Natal for years to come.

We collect all arriving participants from Richards Bay, which is the closest airport. You will have to book your International Flight to arrive at Johannesburg (OR Tambo International Airport), and then book a short internal connecting flight, from Johannesburg (JHB) to Richards Bay (RCB). We do ask that participants confirm their placement booking with us, before purchasing any flight tickets!


ARRIVAL FLIGHT:

For your arrival flight (on the Monday), you will need to book the flight which arrives to Richards Bay Airport at 12:30 PM (or any earlier flight on that day). Any flight scheduled to arrive later than 12:30 PM will NOT be suitable, since we will not be able to get you to the projects in time. (The vehicle leaves the airport at 12:45 PM).

If participants cannot find flights to fit in with the timing guidelines for Arrival Monday, they will need to fly in to Richards Bay on the Sunday and overnight near the Airport, and make their own way back to the airport by 12:00 PM on the Monday, to meet the driver.

NOTE: Please be aware that if you arrive on a morning flight on Monday, you will have a few hours to wait until the transport service arrives to collect all arriving volunteers from Richards Bay Airport at 12:00 PM. There is a small coffee shop within the Richards Bay Airport. You will be safe to wait there, and they sell beverages and snacks so you can sit and read, or work on your laptop.


DEPARTURE FLIGHT:

For your departure flight (on the Monday), you will need to book a flight departing from Richard's Bay Airport at 12:25 PM (or any later flight on that day).

Any flight departing earlier than 12:25 will NOT be suitable, as we will not be able to get you to the airport in time. (The vehicle drops off participants at 11:30 AM).


OVERNIGHT OPTIONS NEAR THE AIRPORT:

Participants should please book accommodation options situated close to the Richards Bay Airport. The “Serendipity Guesthouse”, “Woodpecker Inn”, and “Gecko Inn” options (all located within 5 kilometers of the airport), have all been used by our previous participants.

Please make sure to request a shuttle back to the airport for the Monday, in your booking enquiry with the accommodation option you choose to book.

CAUTION: Please be advised that accommodation options located in the Meerensee area, or near the Tuzi Gazi Waterfront, are significantly further from the airport in terms of travel time (30-minute drive), and traffic congestion on that busy route may cause additional delays.


COLLECTION FROM THE AIRPORT:

The driver will be provided with all arriving participants’ photographs, and he will be waiting inside the small Arrivals Hall of the airport at 12:00 PM, holding a “Welcome Wildlife ACT volunteers” sign; and a list of all arriving participants’ names. Once all participants have met up with the driver, the vehicle will depart from the airport and drive northwards up the N2 to drop off participants for each project.

The Wildlife ACT Monitor from each project will be waiting to collect their new participants. You will then be transported the remaining distance to the project Research Camp inside the Reserve, on the back of the open 4x4 Monitoring vehicle.

On the Monday of your departure you will be transported back to Richards Bay Airport to catch your departing flight home.

ZAR
2 Weeks

28800.00

4weeks

47000.00

6 weeks

65200.00

8 weeks

83400.00

10 weeks

101600.00

12 weeks

119800.00

Transport Fee

2800.00

2024

27 May

10 or 24 June

08 or 22 July

05 or 19 August

02, 16, or 30 September

14 or 28 October

11 or 25 November

09 or (*23) December

2025

06 or 20 January

03 or 17 February

03, 17 or 31 March

14 or 28 April

12 or 26 May

09 or 23 June

07 or 21 July

04 or 18 August

01, 15 or 29 September

13 or 27 October

10 or 24 November

08 or 22 December

Location

The Leopard Survey has taken place on various game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal including state protected areas such as sections of Isimangiliso Wetland Park (uMkhuze and Eastern Shores), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Parks (Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, Ithala Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park) as well as private protected areas such as Somkhanda and Manyoni.