Zambia Lion Research (STA exclusive 2013) - TDZLCT
Day 1 Livingstone
Day 1 Livingstone Arrive in Livingstone at any time and make your own way to your accommodation. Our first night will be spent at The Zambezi Waterfront Lodge in Livingstone, located on the banks of the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls. This night will be spent in the Tented "Adventure Village", designed to attract more adventurous travellers (and of course the young at heart). Enjoy your first day in Livingstone free at leisure-you will be picked up for your volunteer portion in the morning of day 2 at 6:15am. Please find more information regarding pick up time at the Gap Adventures reception desk at the Waterfront. From Day 2 to Day 7 you will overnight in our volunteer house in Livingstone. All meals will be on your own account on Day 1 and breakfast on Day 2. Livingstone is great base to kick-off this southern African adventure, to see both some natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (at wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view. David Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813 in the village of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. He first studied Greek, medicine, and theology at the University of Glasgow and while working in London, joined the London Missionary Society became a minister. He originally planned to gain access to China through his medical knowledge. The Opium Wars, which were raging at this stage with no signs of peace on the horizon, forced Livingstone to consider other options. From 1840 he worked in Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana), and in the period 1852–56, he explored the African interior, and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya waterfall (which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch, Queen Victoria). Livingstone was one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa. The purpose of his journey was to open the routes, while accumulating useful information about the African continent. In particular, Livingstone was a proponent of trade and Christian missions to be established in central Africa. His motto, inscribed in the base of the statue to him at Victoria Falls, was “Christianity, Commerce and Civilization.” The town of Livingstone is a regional transport center, being located near the borders of Botswana and Zimbabwe, and serves as a base for the many visitors to see this part of Africa, and the impressive Victoria Falls, a mere 12km from Livingstone. The Victoria Falls waterfalls occur in a country that is perfectly flat. From its source on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zambezi River meanders for 1300 km across the wooded plateau of Zambia, eroding for itself a shallow valley on its mild descent to the site of the falls. The river eventually found a weak spot on the lower lip of the surface over which it passed, and forced a passage which was steadily deepened into an exit gorge. During the last half million years the river has scoured out eight of these cracks across its bed. The Victoria falls occurs where the river is 1688 m wide, presents the spectacle of an average maximum of 550 million liters of water a minute tumbling over the lip of the trench in five main falls, the Devil’s Cataract, Main falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow falls and the Eastern Cataract. The highest of these is Rainbow falls, on an average 108 m high. A peak flood sees 750 million liters of water in one minute hurtling over the falls. The name Zambezi comes from the Tonka tribe, also meaning Great River, but the Sotho-speaking Kololo people of the upper reaches of the river gave it the well-known name of Mosi o a Thunya (smoke that rises). The Lozi people call it by the same name but translated it into smoke that sounds. The Ndebele call it aManza Thunqayo (the water that rises like smoke). The Namibian people call it Chinotimba (a noise-making place like the distant sound of digging).
Day 2-6 Volunteering with Lions in Livingstone (4B,5L,5D)
Transfer to the volunteer house and begin your placement. Your primary task will be to assist management and their team of guides, handlers and scouts in all aspects of care for the animals in their charge; giving them the opportunities to develop their natural instincts in preparation for their release into the next stage of the program. Research is a significant part of your role; collecting data not only on the development of the lions, but also joining our elephant monitoring team in the National Park. You will also help us with our various community programs that may include conservation or health education as well as a number of other projects that you will told about on arrival. To give you an idea of how your time will be split between the different aspects of the program, the following should be taken as an approximation: Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program 75% Conservation work within the National Park 20% Conservation Education & Community Development 5% Daily tasks may include: Lion Walks: Spending time with the lions in the wild each day is an essential part of the cubs upbringing. Since the start of this intensive lion walking programme, we have noted a marked increase in the lions awareness of their natural surroundings, as well as an improvement in their hunting skills. The larger cubs are now able to take down smaller game species whilst out on walks, and these abilities are being enhanced each day whilst under the supervision of volunteers. These are invaluable discoveries, which have earned us further support for our world first endeavors. Alongside the walks you will be involved in the care of the animals which overnight in enclosures. They need feeding, cleaning, and occasionally will need veterinary care to ensure that they are kept in the best of health. Join our team of professional guides and other dedicated volunteers, gain a deeper understanding of the King of Beasts and assist us in gathering vital information that will facilitate their eventual release back into the wild. Research: As part of the program we conduct a number of research activities to better understand lion behaviour and ecology. The lion walks offer unique opportunities to observe lions close up in their natural environment with the data collected assisting us to make the best decisions for the animal"s welfare and eventual release. Volunteers will assist our research technician in gathering and analyzing this vital data. The research studies being undertaken whilst on your placement will vary depending on the needs of the project at the time but may include looking at hunting development, character traits, spoor sizes or mane growth. You will receive all the training you need in order to ensure that you are able to provide valuable input to this program regardless of previous experience. Elephant Monitoring: Conflict with humans is a major issue for elephants in the region, but understanding how to mitigate the conflict first requires an understanding of the ecology of the species within the National Park. Volunteers will join the research team to identify individual elephants, to track seasonal changes, score body condition, record location and group sizes; all so that these data can be correlated to crop raiding incidents. Through this program we hope to be able to find patterns in elephant use of the Park to understand why the conflicts arise and therefore be able to provide reasonable solutions to reduce the conflict. Conservation Education: Volunteers will join our ACT conservation education program visiting local schools to garner support for conservation through education. The syllabus was originally devised under the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) "We Care!" project with lesson plans designed to offer children a full understanding of their environment and to build an appreciation for the need to conserve what remains of the wild areas of Zambia. Each lesson may focus on a specific species or introduce conservation methods. Learning is achieved through a mixture of classroom-based talks and discussion as well as involving the children in smaller groups and practical activities such as visits to the lion programme, or Victoria Falls themselves. A few days prior to each lesson you will work with our team and other volunteers to prepare the lesson plans whilst also receiving training on how best to teach the children that you will meet. Community Development: During your placement you will have the opportunity to be involved in a number of community programs which may include health education, training in the sustainable use of natural resources or reading classes. The nature of the programs operating at the time of your placement will be given to you on arrival. A typical volunteer day usually looks like this: - 6:30 - 9:00am Meet your guide and their clients and join them for a lion walk, taking cubs from 4 months to 18 months out into the bush. Watch and take data as the cubs practice their hunting skills on the many game species they encounter. - 9:00am - 10:00am Breakfast. - 10.00am - 12.00pm One group might head off to a nearby school to begin the day"s Conservation Education classes - sometimes there are up to 60 kids in a class! Chaotic but fun! The other group will be cleaning or feeding the cubs, or driving into the National Park to conduct elephant research. - 12:30pm - 2:00pm Lunch and a chance to relax during the hottest part of the day. - 2.30pm - 6:00pm Your afternoon duties could include a snare sweep before an afternoon lion walk. - Evening: Short Term Volunteers will head off back to town to their comfortable backpackers, where they can enjoy a drink at the bar, take a dip in the pool, relax and chat with other travelers, or venture off into Livingstone town to experience the night life of this tourist Mecca.
Day 7 Livingstone (B)
Depart at any time, with an included transfer to take you to the airport or to any other location in Livingstone. If you are interested in volunteering for more time, you can extend your stay for up to 4 weeks, space limited.