Rewarding Work With Animals at the Hoedspruit Centre |

In Hoedspruit, in Limpopo Province in South Africa, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) is a bastion of wildlife conservation. At first glance, the area is a logical choice for the location of a wildlife conservation facility as important as the HESC, and it offers a richly rewarding experience for anyone who wants to work with animals. Moreover, the Limpopo Province is known for its breathtaking natural landscape-its fog-obscured cliffs and mountains and seemingly serene bodies of water are home to a diversity of flora and fauna. So, regardless of what serious work you undertake during your stay here, you will inevitably enjoy every moment of it.More than just a tourist attractionThe Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is, admittedly, popular among tourists. With its top-notch accommodations and facilities, and the way it allows guests to interact with the animals, it offers the average visitor an experience they will never forget. Even the restaurant (staffed by some of the most efficient and gracious people this side of the world) is outstanding in its culinary offerings. So what’s there not to like about it? Apart from this touristy side of the facility, however, is a responsibility that is greater than its weight in gold: a steady stream of volunteers who come to work with animals and ensure their continued survival in their natural habitat. Truly, a visit to this centre is an educational and enlightening experience.Be “safely intimate” with wild cats and wild dogsOne of the major conservation efforts of the HESC focuses on the cheetah, African wild dogs, and black-footed cats. By this we mean the centre not only rigorously conducts research into the lives and behaviour of the said animals, it is also actively breeding them to help keep their numbers stable. As a volunteer here to work with animals, you will have a direct hand in making this happen on a daily basis-by fulfilling tasks and assignments as efficiently as you can (a little “tender, loving care” can go a long way), you make a significant contribution to helping the centre meet its lofty goals and keep these animals alive and thriving.Global conservation awarenessThe end goal of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (aside from having a direct hand in actually propagating and breeding critically endangered species) is to raise international awareness about the kind of conservation work being implemented in South Africa. Anyone who volunteers to work with animals in the centre inevitably plays their own role in helping achieve the said goal. Volunteers will also help enlighten guests or visitors to the centre about what it takes to keep these animals not only alive, but also safe in their natural habitat. In the end, regardless of whether you stay for two weeks or two months, your work will have positively helped push the centre closer toward accomplishing its overall mission.