Singita Pamushana Lodge located on the 130,000-acre Malilangwe Reserve, partners with the Malilangwe Trust, every year to co-host an internationally renowned course on Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife. The course originated in Zimbabwe more than 30 years ago when the Government Veterinary Service (GVS) was asked to assist in the training of National Parks personnel in safe wild animal capture.
It is the culmination of ideas, knowledge, and experience gained over the last three decades and is designed to benefit both the wildlife industry in southern Africa as well as other professionals from around the world working with captive or free-ranging wild animals. This is the 16th year the 10-day course has taken place and this year included students from 17 different countries. The objective is to educate wildlife health and management professionals in the science and art of wildlife capture. These skills can be of huge benefit in the preservation of wildlife populations all over the world.
Whether it be a rhino in Africa or a snow leopard in Asia, threatened or endangered species cannot be effectively managed without the occasional intervention. This can be for health reasons, the fitting and removal of GPS tracking technology, or even relocation into areas where numbers are low or a species has disappeared altogether. The course teaches the relevant wild animal capture skills to achieve all these.
Participants obtain a wealth of both theoretical and hands-on practical experience unavailable on equivalent courses. The field aspects are conducted in a wild and free-roaming environment, so safety is paramount. A key feature is the wide range of local, regional and international lecturers and wildlife managers that assist in teaching both theoretical and field aspects of safe wildlife capture. All are leaders in their individual fields and include veterinarians and pathologists, managers and researchers, game capturers and helicopter pilots.
The course integrates a variety of topics including legislation, theoretical and applied pharmacology, theoretical and applied physiology, stress and capture-related conditions, safety and first aid in the field, use of helicopters, ethical principles, chemical immobilisation and species requirements, drug injecting equipment, dart projectors, ancillary treatments in wildlife capture, transport of wild animals and post-mortem techniques.
The CPRWA course is run by the Zimbabwe Wildlife Veterinary Trust and Wildlife Capture Africa headed by Dr. Chap Masterson in conjunction with the Malilangwe Trust (www.wildlifecaptureafrica.com).
Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers. Richard has written for the Daily Telegraph (UK) for more then 20 years and met Sarah while presenting documentaries for the Discovery Channel which were produced by Sarah. Prior to working with Singita, the couple spent 18 months in Africa writing and filming the multi-media Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph. The column includes reports on safaris, wildlife conservation and community stories from all over southern and eastern Africa.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
This film was mostly shot on a Leica V-Lux (www.leica-camera.com). For invaluable additional footage, huge thanks to Josh Mostert, Wildlife Capture Africa.