Lion, Elephant & Wildlife Management
Make a difference & work closely with some of Africa’s most iconic species.
→ Prices start from $1217 or £839 for 1 week
Why Volunteer With Lions?
Get ready for an unforgettable wildlife experience, working alongside some of Africa’s most iconic species, with unique lion, elephant and wildlife opportunities on offer.
As part of this project, you will be fully involved with the daily upkeep of our resident lions, assist with the vital maintenance of our Game park and enjoy close encounters with our magnificent elephants.
Experience incredible lion, elephant and wildlife opportunities, while contributing towards our pioneering conservation efforts!
Lion Conservation Reviews
I stayed at Antelope Park (AP) for a month and it was amazing! I had the best time there meeting new people from all over the world and of course, meeting the beautiful animals. The activities, like walking the lions and elephants every day, cleaning enclosures, feeding the big lions and many more, were a lot of fun and it’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget. Also thanks to the amazing staff who made the activities and my stay a lot of fun
A day in the life
Your days will be varied and dependent on what needs to be done that day. You can expect to get involved with an array of different activities:
- Experience our elephants and wildlife through a variety of close and unique activities.
- Enjoy regular encounters with magnificent African lions, getting to know their personalities as you get involved with important daily upkeep activities.
- Discover and witness the different behaviours of the Ngamo pride and see how they really function in the wild.
- Take part in behavioural enrichment activities by making toys from natural materials to stimulate the lions’ predatory and sensory behaviours, as well as stimulating activities for our elephants.
- Stroll alongside our stunning 4 orphaned elephants, getting to know their different characters, social interactions and group dynamics.
- Take our conversation efforts out into the community and encourage locals to become passionate about protecting our precious wildlife.
- Discover our incredible resident wildlife, out in our game park, by participating in bush walks, game drives, game feeding, game counts, bird surveys and more!
- Become a part of our wildlife protection team, assisting with essential snare sweeps and boundary patrols, to protect our resident wildlife.
- At an extra cost, take advantage of the wide variety of activities that Antelope Park offers, such as Sunset Carriage Rides, Polocrosse, or our ultimate Overnight Horse Safaris, among so many other unforgettable experiences.
- Visit our Snake House where you can meet our resident python Aphrodite and take a selfie with her, if you dare!
- Help out with reserve management activities including road repairs, erosion control, tree planting and fire breaks.
- Enjoy one of Africa’s most unique parks, featured in BBC’s Nature’s Miracle Orphans, ITV’s Lion Country and Animal Planet’s Roaring with Pride. What you saw on TV now you can see with your own eyes.
Our Goals and Objectives
We are dedicated to the well-being of our lions, elephants and, as well as the sustainability of our program. All of our animal activities have specific aims and objectives, to ensure we are reaching our goals:
To provide our lions with the highest possible care and welfare, thus avoiding abnormal behaviour. We provide our lions with stimulating enrichment to encourage natural and instinctive behaviour, while also observe behaviour and health anomalies using the data collection sheets.
The purpose of behaviour enrichment is to keep our lions active and alert, while in their enclosures. We strive to contribute our ideas to science and for the benefit of other captive animal establishments.
Wild elephants have been known to inhabit vast areas, exposing them to many natural enrichments. Given our relatively smaller area, it is now up to us to bring these enrichment opportunities to them to enhance their natural instincts.
Enclosure & Boma Maintenance
- To ensure the enclosure housing our resident lions are secure and to provide our lions with clean and safe living environments.
- To remove any items that could be harmful to the lions and fix any broken equipment, such as lion platforms and to ensure all the fencing is in order
- To ensure the bomas housing our orphaned elephants at night are secure, clean and safe. Our elephants are kept in these bomas at night to avoid mass damage that elephants are inherently known to cause, as well as for their own safety and the people around them.
Anti-Poaching- Boundary Patrols & Snare Sweeps
- To protect and preserve our resident park wildlife, by searching the boundary fence for any holes or breaks within the fences.
- To spot and collect any wire traps, that are potentially fatal to any animal that comes across these traps.
Ngamo Pride Drive
- Behavioural observation of stage two release pride. Observing and recording group dynamics, social interactions, territorial behaviours and hunting skills.
- To assess self-sustainability, successful hunting ability, social cohesions and sociability structure as a pride.
Meat Preparation & Lion Enclosure Water
- To ensure that all of the lions within our care are provided with the most suitable nutritional diet and are hydrated at all times.
- Meat is measured in Kgs and we ensure each lion is receiving the correct amount of food, depending on the size, weight and other factors of the individual lions. Each lion is monitored, and their food intake is regularly assessed. To ensure that each of our lions is receiving the nutrients they require; “Carnivore Mix” – a pre-mixed bag of crushed vitamins and minerals is added to the meat.
- To ensure water troughs are cleaned and filled with water.
- To ensure that game species within our park have a sufficient supply of food to survive the dry season
- To supplement feed these species with an appropriate feed.
- To gain a better understanding of the species present within the land we manage and to identify which species are utilising which areas.
- To add to our species list of animals present in the forest we manage and to map where different species are being seen in what quantity.
- To further our lion conservation efforts by educating the local community on the importance of wildlife conservation practices, methods and activities.
- To engage with local schools with the aim of changing people’s perception of conservation as a whole.
- Volunteers conduct weekly conservation lessons, at our very own conservation centre, to expand the pupils understanding of conservation and to encourage pupils to become passionate for saving wildlife and getting involved with our conservation initiatives.
Who is ALERT?
ALERT stands for the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust and is an internationally registered non-profit organisation founded in 2005. Dedicated to making a real difference to conservation and communities in Africa. Initially established to support the Lion Rehabilitation program, ALERT has developed in a holistic, multi-disciplined conservation organisation. With focal projects in two key National Parks in Zimbabwe where full ecosystems are studied and monitored, including large predators, their prey and other key species such as elephants.
A major part of ALERT’s approach is the very important involvement of communities who lie alongside the Protected Areas and who often suffer from conflicts with wildlife. Our conservation education and classroom support allow us the opportunity to spread the importance of conservation to the next generation, and to involve teachers, community leaders and children in developing better ways to coexist with wildlife.
It is many of these projects that our volunteers contribute to throughout their day to day activities.
ALERT is a proud partner and firm supporter of our Lion Rehabilitation and Release Program. Whilst progress of the program has been stifled, ALERT remains dedicated to testing the model believes it is a solution to aiding a still rapidly declining lion population.
ALERT continues to promote the program across its network, and aids with scientific data collection, analysis and publishing of its progress.
The lion is a key symbol of Africa, and its long-term survival is at risk. ALERT is dedicated to ensuring the future of this majestic animal for generations to come.
Highlights of our lion conservation volunteer project
The opportunities Zimbabwe present are staggering and promise to provide an experience of a lifetime. From unique wildlife encounters & historic sites to one of the seven natural wonders of the world; isn’t it time you experienced the hype for yourself?
From tracking white rhino on foot and game drives, to cave paintings, hikes and the historic grave of Cecil Rhodes; Matopos offers a whole array of activity, with one of Zimbabwe’s most stunning national parks as your backdrops.
Whether you are cruising along the Zambezi river or bungee jumping into the mist itself; a visit to one of the seven natural wonders of the world is one for the bucket list. From exhilarating adrenaline packed activities to game viewing in beautiful Botswana, there is something for everyone on the doorstep of the magnificent falls.
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
These are Africa’s 2nd oldest ruins behind the pyramids and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend the day trekking around these ancient ruins and learn about ancient kings of the past and ancient Zimbabwean culture.
About Antelope Park
Antelope Park is the home of our lion conservation efforts. Located in the middle of Zimbabwe, close to the town of Gweru, Antelope Park is a stunning private game park, nestled in 3000 acres of iconic savannah grassland; with heaps of game grazing its plains including zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, kudu and waterbuck, accompanied by over 200 different bird species. Antelope Park is the proud home of our semi-wild release lion pride.
Walk with our gentle giants: Our magnificent four orphaned elephants enjoy their days, roaming the bush from dawn until dusk. You will have the opportunity to accompany these incredible iconic animals, on long morning walks to get to know their individual characters and witness their social interactions, or an afternoon stroll after a day of exploring their natural habitat.
Our Semi-Wild Release Pride await you: Venture out into our release site and observe our semi-wild Ngamo pride, living the life of any wild lion pride. You will learn about their physical traits, individual behaviours, their group dynamics and social interactions, witnessing the pride functioning as they would in the wild.
Wildlife from the Saddle: Our extensive horse opportunities allow you to experience the African bush in the most unique and unforgettable way possible. From the ultimate overnight horse safari to experiencing the incredible African sunrise from horseback. Horse swims, cross-country, polocrosse, just to name a few.
Combinations on Offer
Combine your wildlife conservation experience with our horses or community development efforts for an all-rounded experience!
Horses: Become fully immersed with the running of our authentic African Stables, with unique and unforgettable riding opportunities on offer.
Community Teaching: Take our conservation efforts out into the local community, as well as providing vital individualised teaching assistance in local schools.
Community Medical: Take on important medical tasks, freeing up the healthcare professionals and making a difference in rural clinics.
Wildlife Photography: Discover the beauty of the African bush, through the lens, while taking advantage of guaranteed wildlife photo opportunities, to add to your portfolio.
Our Start Dates for 2021 are:
- 4, 18 January
- 1 & 15 February
- 1, 15, 29 March
- 5 & 19 April
- 3, 17, 31 May
- 7 & 21 June
- 5, 12, 19 & 26 July
- 2, 16, 23 & 30 August
- 6 & 20 September
- 4 & 18 October
- 1, 15 & 29 November
- 13 & 27 December
Our Start Dates for 2022 are:
- 3, 17 January
- 7 & 14 February
- 14, 28 March
- 4 & 18 April
- 2, 16, 30 May
- 6 & 20 June
- 4, 11, 18 & 25 July
- 1, 15, 22 & 29 August
- 5& 19 September
- 3& 17 October
- 14 & 28 November
- 12 & 26 December
|Duration||Cost GBP||Cost USD|
|1 Week||£ 839||$ 1,217|
|2 Weeks||£ 1,199||$ 1,739|
|3 Weeks||£ 1,785||$ 2,588|
|4 Weeks||£ 2,184||$ 3,167|
|5 Weeks||£ 2,415||$ 3,502|
|6 Weeks||£ 2,688||$ 3,898|
|7 Weeks||£ 2,891||$ 4,192|
|8 Weeks||£ 3,192||$ 4,628|
|9 Weeks||£ 3,528||$ 5,116|
|10 Weeks||£ 3,850||$ 5,583|
|11 Weeks||£ 4,235||$ 6,141|
|12 Weeks||£ 4,620||$ 6,699|
Lion Volunteering Project FAQs
How endangered is the lion population?
Lions have been declared as vulnerable. Today, they occupy just 8% of the land they once dominated. 80 years ago, there were around 200,000 lions in the wild (WWF Living Planet Report 2016.)
Since then, there has been a 43% decline in the last 25 years alone (1993-2018.) Today, it is understood that just 22,000 wild lions remaining, across the whole of the African continent!
What are the biggest threats facing the lion population?
- A loss of habitat: Lions have lost 92% of the territory they once roamed. The sheer reduction of their natural environment has also led to a decrease in prey and food sources.
- The biggest issue that faces the lion population is human-wildlife conflict. Lions who live outside of fenced or protected areas are exposed to less natural prey and as a result, they turn to farm livestock as their prey. In a nation where people’s livestock is their wealth, African people who have seen their wealth destroyed, turn to kill the lions that harmed their livestock and livelihood. This is a major area of our conservation that we focus on, overcoming the conflict between local people and the surrounding wildlife.
- The disease has been a strong contributing factor to the rapid decline in the lion population in the last few years. Diseases such as feline leukaemia virus, bovine tuberculosis and morbillivirus have severely affected South Africa and its lion population. A combination of inbreeding due to the small population group have also caused genetic problems and therefore problems to the already dwindling population.
Is it safe to work around lions?
Working around lion (captive or wild) comes with its risks. However, the safety of our volunteers is our main priority. We ask you to remember that you are working around wild animals, not domestic cats!
Our lions are not tamed but are safe to interact with until a certain age/ point. Follow the advice and instructions from our experienced handlers and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
Why this lion conservation program?
- You will be part of the team, implementing our innovative lion conservation efforts and contributing towards securing the future of the incredible African Lion.
- You will have the opportunity to take our lion conservation efforts further, out to the local communities as part of our mission to overcome human-wildlife conflict.
- Experience exclusive animal encounters and a range of wildlife-based activities.
- Witness the thrill of the chase during an epic night encounter and conduct important research on our semi-wild release pride. Your opportunities are endless.
- You will meet people from all over the globe and create amazing new friendships, while also experiencing the best of what Zimbabwe has to offer.