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Conservation Work on Horseback

Sunday 15th November 2009

Work for African Conservation Experience as a conservation volunteer from horseback

The Hanchi Conservation Project, from African Conservation Experience, will be taking conservation work from horseback to new levels in 2010, managing endangered roan and stunning sable antelope breeding herds from horseback and studying some of the most elusive and persecuted predators in Africa.

African Conservation Experience has been sending volunteers to Africa for over a decade and is the original, most experienced organisation for conservation placements in Southern Africa.  2010 sees the move of the Hanchi long term conservation volunteer project to a new reserve giving volunteers the chance to be involved in a project of immense conservation value, while learning new skills of equine husbandry in the wild African bushveld.

Hanchi, meaning Horse in the local Shangaan language, brings horse riding and conservation together in a unique setting, where volunteers play a vital role in the preservation of stunning predators through educational research and assist in the breeding of endangered and rare species.

For novices to experienced equestrians, Hanchi Conservation Project can host all levels of rider from 2 weeks to 3 months. Set on a vast reserve in the rugged and wild bushland of the Limpopo Province of South Africa, the management of the endangered roan antelope is critical to enable it to survive in the wild. The sensitivity of the horse makes them ideal partners in traversing the bush, ensuring game are less stressed and by nature alerting you to young and elusive animals.

Volunteering work includes:

  • Equine husbandry and care, including disease control
  • Equine tack and yard maintenance
  • Roan and sable monitoring, studying densities, ages and condition
  • Predator monitoring - young antelope are very vulnerable in bush and require monitoring to ensure predation levels from cheetah and hyena are minimal
  • Fence line patrols of inner sable and roan camps and the greater reserve
  • Disease free buffalo habituation from horseback on the greater reserve
  • Predator conservation work on the greater reserve is a unique inclusion to this project. Working with cheetah, leopard and brown hyena, volunteers will;
  • Observe hunting and feeding behaviour, including kills, and social interactions
  • Record GPS positions to determine home ranges and movement patterns

Uniquely, cheetah are almost exclusively approached on foot at this project...follow in the footsteps of these wonderful and endangered predators; moving when they move, resting when they rest and watching them stalk, hunt and feed.