Animal Science undergraduates and staff have been praised for their contribution to the welfare of wildlife after completing a study tour in South Africa.

The 20 undergraduates,  who are studying for degrees in Zoo Management, Animal management, Wildlife Conservation and Ecology and Animal Behaviour and Welfare enjoyed a placement split between two very different camps and experienced a broad spectrum of conservation work. One venue was in Balule, a remote reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park while the other was at Care for Wild, the largest rhino orphanage and rehabilitation centre in the continent.

At Care for Wild, activities included hand-feeding rhino calves, husbandry and enclosure maintenance, behavioural observations and getting to know the staff and other volunteers. Despite working in temperatures up to 35oC, the students found the experience extremely rewarding.

In Balule, with the help of the extremely knowledgeable guides, the students worked on their southern African wildlife ID skills, surveying techniques and took part in invasive plant control. They also visited a local crèche to play with the children and brightened up their nursery with a new lick of paint!

This was the eleventh time we have arranged a study tour through African Conservation Experience.

In a letter praising our group, Martin Bornman, Logistics and Operations Manager, said: “The teams on the ground always look forward to the arrival of Reaseheath’s students. They have a reputation for being extremely polite, genuinely hard working and interested in all the elements of the natural world, not just the Big Five.

“This group did real work, especially at the rhino orphanage. The experience they have built up at Reaseheath certainly showed and they were a credit to the college and to their families.

“The staff who accompanied the students (Becx Whitefield, Finn McCully and Tom Brooks) are clearly very good educators who take their responsibilities very seriously. They not only managed the students but did so in a way that created a fun environment for everyone. How lucky Reaseheath is to have such quality staff!

“We hope that the students left South Africa with experiences that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”