We’re conducting vital leopard research, which you can be part of and help us to conserve the species.
Authenticity is the key to our operations. Our underlying ethos is one of providing a genuine and 'real' experience. Our programs are for anyone over eighteen years who has a passion for nature and a wish to be involved with an authentic African wildlife research project.
So what is involved? As an Ingwe volunteer you will be involved with all aspects of our conservation and research programs. You’ll gain an in-depth knowledge about our work, while contributing towards our essential leopard research.
Your role will be to assist our head researcher and will include visiting the game reserves where we are monitoring the leopard populations via camera trapping as well as helping to catalogue camera trap data and identify individual leopards as well as other species.
There are four locations available in South Africa where you can be part of the team.
INGWE research base Hoedspruit, Limpopo.
Here you will stay in pleasant style in our lodge/research base, close to the Kruger National Park.
From there you will visit some of the game reserves where we are conducting leopard research.
Depending on distance from Hoedspruit this may involve staying on those reserves for a few nights, or for those closer to home, we will conduct day visits. During a two week stay you can expect to visit 2-4 other reserves, dependant on the need at that time.
Reserve visits will involve travelling in off road vehicles around those reserves, servicing camera traps, downloading images from those cameras, monitoring leopard movement via tracks and collecting scatt samples.
When not accompanying our full time researchers on reserve visits, you will be able to be involved with assimilating and cataloging the images you have collected and identifying individual leopards and other species.
During every two week stay you will also join us on a day trip to the Kruger National Park, to enjoy some big five game viewing.
And of-course there will be time for some R&R to enjoy our lodge and perhaps an occasional evening out visiting to the nearby town of Hoedspruit.
With prior approval, university students can also utilise our research facilities and database to integrate your own research programs if appropriate while you are with the Ingwe team. Over the last years we have generated a large amount of data on a wide variety of species that while not directly of use specifically for our leopard research, we hope will be of use for other research programs.
Thaba Tholo wilderness reserve research camp
The Thaba Tholo research camp is set within the magnificent 6,000 Hectare Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve near Lydenburg, Mpumalanga. It is here that we have been conducting research into leopard behaviours for more than five years.
Our research camp has been designed to blend sympathetically with the environment and operates on a carbon neutral basis.
There is accommodation for up to fifteen students and researchers in permanent tents, set within our conservation village with central kitchen and communal rooms.
Lead by our research team you will be involved in all aspects of our research on the Thaba Tholo Reserve.
This research camp lends itself to University groups, who wish to use our facilities to conduct research on the reserve, or assist with our ongoing research. With that in mind this package is only open to groups of 6-15 persons.
During any stay with the INGWE team, our intent is to ensure that our volunteers develop a comprehensive understanding of all of the key elements that make up a successful conservation project.
Training will encompass the following:
• Induction and bush safety
• Enhancing bush senses
• Understanding large carnivore behaviours
• Obtaining and recording data
• Wildlife tracking
• Camera trapping
Once training is completed, volunteers will be given tasks and complete these tasks with a minimum of supervision.
These tasks will include:
• Setting, servicing and retrieving Camera Traps
• Identifying and recording spoor location
• Identifying and analysing carnivore scats
• Data input and analysis
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