Volunteer Work (Big Cat & Conservation)
4 Weeks – GBP 1570 | USD 2826 | E 2041
You will be located in Kenya’s amazing wildlife reserve the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The Maasai Mara has an abundance of game all year round and is renowned for its annual Great Wildebeest Migration. You will be spoilt by the variety of wildlife and vast Maasai Mara plains.
The Mara is home to 'The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth’ in the form of the Great Wildebeest Migration that takes place every year. The migration includes over one million animals and the sheer magnificence of the display makes it one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
General Information on Volunteer Involvement
Both qualified and non-qualified volunteers can join this project. Your qualification will determine your level and area of involvement at the different placements.
Volunteer Involvement is in the following areas:
Big Cat Monitoring Project – this project is run in partnership with the Basecamp Foundation.
This project aims to monitor the lion, leopard and cheetah populations and movements of prides within the conservancy, as well as the interaction between lions and the local communities. Volunteers will be involved in taking pictures of the big cats, identifying each individually and creating its own profile, while building the database of cats within the conservancy.
There is also a great need for the consistent and accurate collection of data on the Conservancy, including regular censuses of the wild animal population in the area. Under the guidance of the experienced conservancy team, you will assist in the regular collection of this data in order to empower the conservation efforts further and measure the progress of the conservancy.
Conservation projects will also include game drive routing, road identification and crossing marking, species recording and wildlife monitoring, depending on the needs of the conservancy during the time of your visit.
Safari Guide School
85% of the tourism guides in the Maasai Mara are not from the area, with only a handful of the local people benefitting from the multi-billion shilling tourism business due to a lack of the required skills.
The Koiyaki project is an initiative to place guiding in the Mara in the hands of the local people – after all, it is their own ‘back yard.’ The school and wilderness camp is owned by the Koiyaki community (Koiyaki Group Ranch is situated north of the Mara reserve) and is now under the guidance of the Basecamp Foundation.
Goals of the guiding school and camp:
• To enhance conservation of the Maasai Mara wildlife by converting this region into an economically viable conservation area
• To equip local people with the professional skills needed for them to participate in and promote conservation and wildlife management
• To improve the facilities at the Koiyaki guiding school (e.g.: building dormitories, dining area and kitchen).
• To reduce encroachment of wildlife habitat by farming communities and thereby reduce man-wildlife conflict
What do they learn?
In three terms of full time residence training of 8 weeks each, the students will cover the following diverse and interesting modules:
• Culture, Anthropology, History, Customs
• Animal Behaviour
• Visitor Handling
• Environment and Wildlife Management
• Natural History
• Camp Management and Cuisine
• First Aid
• Driving Skills
• Placements: Students will be placed either in the company that sponsors them, or other safari companies. Each student will spend time working in every sector of tourism employment (i.e. not just guiding), as part of their training.
Olesere Primary School
Olesere Primary School has approximately 250 students enrolled, ranging from pre-school to grade 6. The school itself is very basic and there is much potential to develop the facilities further. Thanks to the Headmaster, there is noticeable pride in the school by both the community and the children. The school now has five classrooms and a pre-school unit.
Volunteers will be involved in running an environmental club once a week with select students at the school, encouraging learning about the environment and conservation through interactive methods. These students will then be responsible for transferring their learning and skills to other students at the school through workshops and presentations.
Please be advised that volunteers will also be involved with the practical construction of additional facilities at the Koiyaki Guiding School, improving resources and developing the school as a whole.
Maasai Mara, Kenya, conservation, wildlife research, community, volunteering, sustainable development