Lion Conservation & Community
Volunteering with Lions & Community
Imagine Africa without the mighty lion. It’s a kingdom without a king. Nothing would be more devastating to this continent and its economy than losing this iconic majestic animal. And there’s no way of saving iconic African wildlife, without getting the local communities involved. That’s because wildlife conservation and community work go hand in hand.
With this project, not only will you be playing a vital part in the lion conservation efforts, but you will also be working in schools, teaching kids the importance of the magnificent wildlife they live alongside.
The key to conservation is education.
I had a wonderful time. I came for 4 weeks, the first time in 2016. It was a great experience so I decided to come back again in 2017 for another month and also in 2018 for a month. My flights are booked already for 2019. The research on the lions and the work with the handlers and the enclosure lions is great fun. I can recommend everybody to book this volunteering. The teaching in the different schools is an experience on its own and the kids club on Saturday great fun and very much appreciated by the children. On Sundays, there is the opportunity to visit the national park or just relax.
I got a very warm welcoming from the project manager Sara from Sweden. We did amazing job with the schools, lions, nature and had a lot of great things to do after the working days were over. Zambian staff that work there are very helpful and kind, always providing me with a lot of information and responding to all my questions. I never got bored a single day. There was a lot of new experiences and adventures every day. I am really happy that I did it, I’ll have good memories for the rest of my life =)
I was there for the first time in 2015 for four weeks. The location, then still in the Mosi-oa-Tunya NP, the hospitality of the staff, lion handlers, managers and the accommodation were fabulous. And of course, the work and foremost the walks with the lions were amazing! I enjoyed every hour of it. So much so that I went back for another two weeks in 2016. Again, I so much enjoyed the interaction with the animals, the wildlife, the beautiful environment and all the people. It felt like coming home again. Everyone was so friendly and again, I had a wonderful time. In 2018 I was able to visit the Encounter again for a short time, only three days but again I enjoyed every minute of the three days. Besides the locals and the lions, it is also fantastic to meet so many different people, young and old, from all over the world. It makes the stay always very special. I am sure I will go back….. and I can only recommend this project to everybody.
Your Project, Your Purpose
You will alternate your days between lion conservation work and community projects. Both are very rewarding, unforgettable and satisfying experiences.
Let’s start with our kings and queens!
African lion populations have been declining by an astonishing 43% from 1993 to 2018, according to IUCN research. That means that from 300,000 lions 25 years ago, only slightly over 22,000 remain in the wild across Africa today. The decrease in population is higher than any other species, including the rhino.
That’s why the groundbreaking Lion Release Program was launched in 2004. The staged lion release program aims to release the wild offspring of captive bred lions into appropriate national parks, and reserves across Africa. But in order to accomplish all goals, we need you.
You will meet the Dambwa pride and will play a vital role in collecting data on these lions that are proving that the offspring born within the managed reserve are suitable candidates for release into the wild.
Africa’s food chain depends on its apex predator. Losing it would affect every single creature including us, humans. Saving the lion is saving Africa and its communities from having an empty throne.
Increasing human populations put wildlife at risk on every level. Competition for resources and especially for space in the African savannah creates a human-wildlife conflict that can only be resolved through education.
Because wildlife conservation and community development go hand in hand, you will also work with communities to educate them on meeting the challenges of living alongside dangerous predators. Conducting research to improve our understanding of the lion’s behaviour in Africa’s ecosystems helps to minimize human-lion conflict within the surrounding communities.
Extra-curricular activities, like sports, book clubs and after school programs are also essential because they encourage a child’s creativity and development. It is this way that children with positive role models learn to eventually make a difference in the world they live in.
Besides striving to make a lasting impact in the lives of local communities with educational support, it is essential to understand the connection between that and the significance of living near dangerous wildlife.
Helping people and lions, all at once.
A Day In Your Life
- Be part of the research team that study minute by minute the different behaviours of the Dambwa pride. Participate in body conditioning scores, social behaviour studies and see how they really function in the wild.
- Enjoy unique and unforgettable close encounters with magnificent African lions by caring for our resident captive giants, feeding them and cleaning their enclosures while getting to know their personalities. Also, take part in behavioural enrichment activities by making toys from natural materials to stimulate their predatory and sensory behaviours.
- Help out with reserve management activities including snare sweeps, road repairs, erosion control and fire breaks.
- Become much more than a teacher and more of a role model, when you help kids that are falling behind in their education, by providing one-on-one support that otherwise without your help, they would not get.
- Assist with outreach initiatives in the local communities by delivering conservation education lessons in local schools.
- At an additional cost, fill your weekends with adrenaline activities like bungee jumping and white water rafting. Take advantage of optional trips to wildlife havens like Botswana’s Chobe National Park or visit our sister project in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where you will have the opportunity to walk with the cubs on a day trip. If that’s not enough, enjoy the mighty Victoria Falls from a microlight flight or take a swim in Devil’s Pool (seasonal).
- Make friends for life with other international volunteers while you play a vital role in the conservation of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and World Heritage Site, the magnificent Victoria Falls and also, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
→ Prices start from $2234 or £1212 for 2 weeks
Our start dates for 2019 are:
We generally ask for volunteers to arrive at this project on Monday, and you can volunteer from 2 weeks up to 12 weeks.
This project starts every Monday
During the school holidays, activities may differ from the usual schedule and number of kids vary.
However, your work will be equally engaging and rewarding during this time.
The school terms for 2019 for Zambia are as follows:
- Term 1: 14 January – 12 April
- Term 2: 13 May – 9 August
- Term 3: 9 September – 6 December