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Introduction to Conservation Medicine Course

This is the first course in our product range. It serves as an introduction to what a wildlife veterinarian might engage in on a daily basis in the South African game ranching industry. It is primarily veterinary orientated.

Format: Our courses are offered from our base of operations near Nelspruit in conjunction with Wildlife Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd. Dr JP Raath (BVSc), developer of the courses, lectures on the courses, together with’s practise veterinarians.

We encourage open discussions on real-world problems. Our lecturers are field-working professionals on the fore-front of conservation efforts to protect our wildlife.

During the course, participants can expect to receive lectures and practical experience in the following aspects:

  • Practical demonstrations and active participation in field work
  • Various Capture Methods – Mass Capture, Chemical Capture, Passive Capture
  • Basic Applied physiology
  • Basic Pharmacological principles from injection to recovery
  • Current and new pharmacological preparations
  • Equipment- darting with a range of projectors
  • Basic principles of immobilization
  • Species specific information
  • Problems under anesthesia
  • Confined space darting
  • Conservation strategies in South Africa

The course takes on a fairly relaxed environment with some very intense days during captures. Participants will be based at Source Tree Lodge, Mpumalanga. Transport is provided in the form of a bus with a very friendly team leader at the group’s side. They will instruct and ensure the safety during captures.

Duration: 13 Days – Arriving on the Sunday afternoon and departing a fortnight later on the Saturday morning.

While we attempt to keep to a schedule, due to operational requirements days are often swapped in order to fit in with the veterinary company.

Day 1 of the course is used to orientate and familiarize the participants with the equipment and techniques they might encounter while on the course. The day is started in the lecture room with an introduction to African game and a basic capture and handling intro. A formal darting lecture is held in the afternoon ended off by a  friendly competition. Under the instruction of the course team leader they shall receive their roles during a procedure and practice being an efficient team in the field.

2-3 Days Capture & Relocation – This is dependent on what capture and relocation the veterinary company has planned. The participants act as the working team together with the Practice Veterinarian or Game Capture Specialist darting, relocating, treating, capturing wildlife on surrounding farms and parks. Species may include anything from Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Sable, Impala, Wildebeest to warthog, perhaps even Lion!

2-3 Days Research – Research for Wildlife Pharmaceuticals forms an important part of the Veterinary Practice’s schedule and participants assist while learning about groundbreaking new pharmaceutical products. This is done at our facility and includes species ranging from African Antelope to Crocodiles to Wildebeest. This is also a great opportunity to learn how to effectively setup and mange a protocol for longer term PhD studies.

1 Full Day Kruger Park Visit – Participants are briefed on the state of Kruger’s elephant population and see for themselves what the importance is of management in a fenced ecosystem.

1 Full Day Crocodiles – Participants visit a commercial crocodile farm in the morning and then work on’s crocodiles in the afternoon.

1 Full Day Snake/Reptile Visit – Participants visit a venom center and learn and handle some of South Africa’s most  dangerous snakes. This day is accompanied by a 1 hour lecture from Mr Gus Mills on Long term  conservation studies he has conducted on Wild dog and Cheetah.

1 Full Day Pathology – On the middle Saturday under the leadership of Professor Prozesky for Onderstepoort the participants receive lectures in the morning on pathology and thereafter doing a post mortem in the  afternoon.

1 Full Day Community Work – Siyatutuka Farmers Community Project forms part of our community responsibility program and deals with the interface zones surrounding Kruger National Park. Participants will start an early morning with assisting the state veterinary technicians dipping, vaccinating and treating cattle from the local farmers. Often our teams work on over 300 cattle in a morning is a very rural and rough environment. Its like “Bovine-Bootcamp” and participants are often surprised at how unique the issues and conditions are that these farmers face. Thereafter participants assist with the vaccination of community dogs and cats in the townships of eastern Mpumalanga. Since 2015 we have vaccinated in excess of 3000 dogs.

1 Day Elephant Interaction & Panorama Excursion – On the middle Sunday of the course the participants set off to interact with elephants and then make a short visit to the Mpumalanga Escarpment to see some of the picturesque scenery.

Although there is a formal lecture component regarding Pathology, Pharmacology and certain case studies the course tends to favor informal discussions/debates surrounding conservation issues. Issues regarding culling, hunting, game ranching and rhino trade are generally discussed around the fire in the evenings.

What you need to know:

Course Cost 2025 – US $3800.00 – Early Bird Registration until End July 2024, Thereafter US $4000.00

Duration – 13 Days

Accommodation – Included

Meals – Included

Transport from/to Airport – Provided (Kruger Mpumalanga Int Airport)

Visit to Kruger – Included

Do I get to do hand on work or just watch? – Better get ready to work!

This is a hands-on working experience. You will be part of our team in the field doing REAL veterinary work!

Will I learn, grow and have a good time? – Definitely!