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2016 Veterinary Safari.... why should you go?

Posted in Our Community @ Mar 18th 2016 - By Dr Helen Jones

Like to know what you'd get out of joining the 2016 Vet Safari?

....Only two places left!

Previous Safari's....

There have been five vet safaris so far with participants including Sam McMahon, Vicky Onus, Keith Hart, Richard Holroyd, Russell Mitten, Dave Hopkins, Peter Everist, Rob Hedlefs, David Jones, Alan Taylor, Chantal Whitten, Glenis Kuipers most of whom brought their partners or vet nurses.

Fortunately we have not had anything major go wrong, not even a little nibble from a lion or crocodile.  Sam McMahon was tipped into the rapids at Victoria Falls and stayed under for about 30 seconds but that was it.    

We no longer ‘walk with the lions’ because when the cubs grow they were being used in canned hunting.  Did you watch Four Corners recently on Hunting in Africa?  On another trip, Air Zimbabwe went “bust” and some of us had to catch a bus between Victoria Falls and Harare which was a little hair raising as we drove through the darkness through wildlife parks.

What do previous attendees think?

Richard Holroyd has provided the best comments:

"Our trip originally started off as a vet safari but because of lack of veterinary numbers it was opened up to others.  …I was more interested in seeing a variety of wildlife and landscapes (a first time for me to Africa) than being specifically involved in a veterinary conference or veterinary activities.  I was privileged to have travelled with a great group of people who were from very different backgrounds but we all had a common interest in seeing African wildlife.

There was no such thing as a lowlight and it is very difficult to pick out the highlights as there were so many particularly in terms of the variety of animals that we saw.  What made the trip so great were the organisation and the chaperoning by Nicholas (Helen Jones will be doing this).  Everything went to clockwork and one could just sit back and relax and take it all in knowing that one didn’t have to worry about accommodation, meals and transport.

I was particularly interested in some of the ad-hoc talks given by people involved in local programs and possibly these could be expanded.  Some examples of these were:

  • Steve Edwards at Musango is involved in a program of trying to fence out game from the local village,
  • Paul de Montille at The Hide explaining about his leopard monitoring program. (We will be talking with Brent Stapelkampf on his lion monitoring- he collared Cecil the lion who was shot)
  • Also at The Hide there was a talk about the need for water points in Hwange.
  • We heard about the elephant research program at Stanley and Livingstone Game Reserve looking at minimising the impact of musking on male elephant behavior.
  • We also had some interesting discussions about the dilemma of regeneration of trees in the presence of increasing elephant numbers.

…This safari for me was just a taste of what goes on in a very small area of Africa.  It has given me the incentive to learn more about the wildlife and culture of another continent.  Also it has made me aware of how little I understand and appreciate our Australian wildlife and there is a need for me to get involved more at a local level.

On an initial visit like this, I think that it is an unrealistic expectation to get involved in hands-on veterinary work.  I was happy to watch and observe collecting blood samples and injecting elephants at S and L game reserve.  People like the vet make it look easy but obviously years of experience in handling and observing behaviour contributes to this.

I have always been a “point and shoot” photographer.  This trip made me realise the benefits of having a greater appreciation of the art of photography.  In summary, I certainly had a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable time.  I certainly intend to return to Africa."

Photo of baby elephant rescue from mud taken by Paul de Montille

Would you like to know more?

If this has sparked your interest in finding out more about the 2016 Vet Safari to Zimbabwe and Botswana, you can visit their Page in the Vetanswers Business Directory here...

Or if you have any questions about the 2016 Vet Safari, just ask Dr Helen Jones in the Comments section below.



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