Updated: Jul 19
If you’ve been following me for at least the last year, you know that I did one of my clinical rotations in South Africa doing wildlife medicine and conservation with Umkhondo Big 5 Volunteers and a local veterinarian. The summer prior I had also done a veterinary trip with the same group where I had my first BIG taste of what it takes to be a wildlife veterinarian or working within the wildlife conservation sector. I wrote an entire blog about my first experience with Umkhondo here.
I want to just say that for anyone who had plans to visit Africa this summer before the pandemic took the world by storm, I’m so sorry. The disappointment and sadness you’re feeling is understandable and I hope you will still have a future opportunity to visit this amazing continent and any of the incredible countries within it. When I first met the team at Umkhondo Big 5 Volunteers, I immediately made an instant connection with them and they have become my South African family. I love all the things they taught me, and I learned SO much from their program when I had the opportunity to go in 2018 and 2019.
They recently contacted me to let me know they will be offering their educational courses online now! I was super excited to hear this because this allows vet students, or any other volunteers interested in learning about wildlife medicine and conservation to still do so. You will be given the exact course work I received and more. I wanted to include what the online course will look like and later in this post I’ll mention some special deals and future opportunities you can have for the real practical course once the world opens back up!
The Umkhondo team carefully constructed this program so that the online course prepares you to understand concepts and theories but also provides you with a wholesome understanding and foundation that you can later use if you decide to sign up to join a practical course (would highly recommend). This is a unique opportunity because if you do complete the online course and later participate in the practical course, the material will be a recap and there will be more time to expand your knowledge on topics that interest you individually. It’s important to mention that in order to do the online course you DO NOT have to do the practical course in the future but I’m sure you will want to.
Here are the modules and topics that will be included in this online course:
Common wildlife species and information.
The history of the wildlife industry in South Africa.
Safety during a capture operation.
Capture related deaths.
Helicopters used during capture operations.
Antibiotics and supportive medication.
Opioids used in wildlife capture.
Cyclohexylamines and neuromuscular blockers.
Tranquilizers, Sedatives, Alpha 2 and supportive drugs.
Wildlife and field management.
Marking and measuring techniques.
Species notes and recommended dosages.
Animal tracking techniques.
Anti – Poaching.
Case studies and footage of practical work done for this course.
I can personally attest that the educational material Umkhondo taught me was EXTREMELY helpful and beneficial towards growing my knowledge on wildlife BUT I also learned a lot that helped me understand topics and concepts in my everyday life as a veterinarian. So, are you wondering if this course is worth your time and financial investment? If you’re at all interested in becoming a wildlife veterinarian, doing conservation work, or wanting to do future work in Africa then I’d say YES YES YES! I guarantee that 98% of the veterinary schools in the United States do not teach material even close to what you’d learn with this course. So even if you just want to broaden your veterinary knowledge with other species, I’d definitely recommend this is for you. Vet students, veterinarians, pre-vets, or anyone interested in wildlife, THIS PROGRAM IS FOR YOU.
Umkhondo will be offering a special 10% off coupon code for any booking when you use the coupon code Kristi at checkout. In addition to this, if you complete the online course, you will get 15% off towards a practical course in the future (within 2 years of completing the online course). So checkout the program using this link and drop any questions you have in the comment box below!
Check out their site here!