We are delighted to announce that one of our most popular projects, the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, is expanding into ground-breaking territory in their attempts to help wildlife throughout the country. With the help of the Namibian government, the sanctuary has managed to fight off fierce competition to acquire a huge area of land directly next to the project site with the intention of turning it into a safe haven for rhinos and elephants that have been victims of poaching.
This new addition to the sanctuary is unique. All round the world countries are beginning to focus on different anti-poaching methods which is fantastic, but very few if any are worrying about the actual aftermath of poaching. If an animal is targeted for poaching and survives, chances are it will be incapable of living out in the wild without some form of assistance, and this is exactly what the sanctuary is aiming to provide. Once they have patched the animals up, the hop is to be able to rehabilitate them are re-release them into the wild.
Last year alone in Namibia, 80 rhino were poached (figures from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) and the most recent figures state from the period of 2012 to 2014, 116 elephant deaths were due to poaching in the area. These numbers may not seem huge, but when they are put in the context of the number of remaining elephants and rhinos, the devastating impact poaching has is clear. It’s estimated that elephant numbers are as low as 600 in Namibia, and throughout the whole of Africa there are just 5,500 rhinos left. If the project does not start to help the animals which can still be rehabilitated then nobody will.
That is why volunteers are needed as it is a race against time to have the sanctuary up and running by its January 2017 start date. Whilst some research and physical tasks have already begun at the site, there is plenty more that needs doing and with around 60 volunteers expected at the sanctuary to help get the new addition on its feet, the hope is that many hands will make light of the work that needs doing.
Volunteers will play a big role in helping to prepare the new sanctuary, and here is a look in more detail about some of the activities you can expect to take part in should you want to volunteer at the site!
General farm maintenance and expansion
The most important part of creating a new sanctuary is to ensure all of the groundwork is in place before the animals move in, and volunteers are the only ones who can provide enough man power for this to be possible. They will be assisting with general maintenance as and when the need arises, as well as digging trenches for pipes, helping to clear vegetation, and repairing roads.
Enclosure creation and upkeep
It goes without saying that there will need to be new enclosures built to house the imminent animal arrivals, and volunteers will help to do this. It could involve tearing down and repairing fences and walls, building shelters, or even helping make towers for the baboons! Volunteers will also help to repair older enclosures which can then be reused.
As this is an area of land that the sanctuary has not been present in before, there is still wildlife that needs to be identified and a key part of this identification process revolves around the bird life in the area. Volunteers will observe and explore the variety of wild bird species at the sanctuary and will be led by a guide who is knowledgeable about the topic. This will give them a good chance to learn about how the birds play an important role in the ecosystem in the area.
A new site means new research needs to be done to best understand it and the animals which currently reside in it, and as a result volunteer research activities are varied. As the team need to establish which wildlife is living in the new area, the research will be a lot broader than just elephant and rhino studying so that the team can get a clearer understanding of how best to take the next steps. At present volunteers could take part in research activities such as:
In the future, extensive road cleaning, property maintenance, vegetation surveys, GPS mapping, and the building of new waterholes on the new site will be carried out as part of the research programme in order to prepare for the construction of the new site for rhinos and elephants.
There is a lot of work which is going to go into the new site, but the results will be immeasurable to the lives of many rhinos and elephants, and well as an abundance of other wildlife in the area. Poaching is an evil practise but it is one that is incredibly tough to police, so by creating a safe haven for those animals who have suffered at the hands of poachers and survived, the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary are giving endangered animals a second chance. They need volunteers to be able to make this project happen though, and if you want to be a part of this incredible venture then you can do so here!
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