Volunteer at our Elephant Field Station in South Africa!

As a pioneer volunteer, you can help Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) to set up our field station in April 2020. Tasks vary from organising logistics to setting up e.g. research projects and educational and community programs. We look forward to your application. You can find all you need to know on this web page!

The Elephant Field Station aims to facilitate important research and conservation activities in close range of elephant habitat (Kruger National Park area). The station also will enable workshops and education of local communities and provide students and volunteers with the great opportunity to become involved with wildlife conservation and experience wild elephants from up close.

Will you join the pioneer group?
Bring the Elephant Home is now searching for “pioneer volunteers” to help with the establishment of the field station, hereby making a valuable contribution to elephant conservation. As a pioneer volunteer, you will focus on developing key activities for future field station volunteers, elephant research possibilities, and educational and community programmes. During your stay, you will have an amazing chance to connect with local people and get close to wildlife.

Volunteer tasks and team
You will work out and arrange logistics, activities, and programs. Projects vary from:

  • Tracking wild elephants.
  • Recording elephant behaviour.
  • Collecting elephant dung samples.
  • Constructing beehives.
  • Developing educational programs and data collection sheets.
  • Creating interactive maps of the area.
  • Help to facilitate participatory community workshops. 
  • Conducting questionnaires and interviews people living with elephants.
  • Develop the Field Station and future volunteer programs in collaboration with Elephants Alive and other partners. 

Unique opportunity: If funding permits, you can participate in an operation to collar elephants with the amazing team of Elephants Alive! The GPS collars allows researchers to track elephants, which will provide important information about movement patterns, to understand where and why elephants are moving in certain areas, to understand social dynamics and to discover concerning patterns, for example in the case of poaching or injuries.

Pioneer volunteer qualifications 
The most important requirements are that you are passionate about elephants and people, and motivated to make a real change. 

As this is the development phase of the field station, we welcome people who:
– are independent, have great team-spirit and dependability,
– have an optimistic and flexible attitude, 
– have the ability to think in terms of creative and practical solutions. 
– speak and write English proficiently
– are aged over 21 years old
– preferably have a drivers licence

We welcome a maximum of 8 volunteers with different skills and experience useful for setting up a field station. A few examples of skills we value: communication, sponsoring, marketing, education, organisation, science (e.g. social or environmental), finance, community-based conservation, sustainable construction, graphic design, video editing, and more.

Time commitment
Starting in April (arrive March 30th)
4 weeks, 3 weeks or 2 weeks, full-time
Arrival on Monday
There is a possibility to extend your stay, especially when interested in a coordinator position. 

Not ticking all the boxes?
If you are super motivated but not sure if you can meet all the requirements, you might be able to help us reach our goals in a different way. Please contact us with your ideas and we can discuss options.

An introduction at arrival for this position will be provided. The volunteers will work together with the other pioneers (maximum 8), partners, communities, and people from other countries. You will work closely together with Antoinette van de Water, founder of BTEH. Vera Praet, the first intern of BTEH in South Africa, and still active as a volunteer from the Netherlands, will be the volunteer coordinator and available for questions and assistance.

Costs will be:
4 weeks: 1.250 euros (20,000 ZAR / $ 1,385). 
3 weeks: 1.050 euros (17,000 ZAR / $ 1,150).
2 weeks: 750 euros (12.500 ZAR / $ 850).
– This includes accommodation at the field station, food, coffee/tea/water, internet access, game drives, all research and community engagement activities and a once in a lifetime African bush experience. 
– The costs exclude flights, insurance, vaccinations, etc.
– Furthermore, we can provide all applicants with personal fundraiser pages so you raise financial support and limit your personal costs.

Location and accommodation
At this moment we are in contact with a number of organisations regarding the exact location of the field station. We will update more information as soon as possible.

Things we can confirm about the location:
– Kruger National Park area.
– Shared accommodation with the other pioneers.
– Accommodation will likely be basic, although we will make sure all necessities like proper beds and sanitary are taken care of. Options vary from a basic tent camp to a house. 
– Within 1,5 hours drive (although probably closer) from the current office of BTEH and from the town Hoedspruit.

Other benefits:
– Regular game drives (at least 1-2 times a week)
– Experience at conservation organisation
– Development opportunity: training and promotion to Volunteer Coordinator.
– Network opportunities: Developing and testing programs in collaboration with Elephants Alive and other partner organisations.

Application and selection process
– You can apply through this form.
– In case of any questions, please contact us at volunteer@bteh.org
– After application, we will contact you with more information about the next steps. We will make a selection of suitable applicants and inform you personally. 
– Before we can confirm your stay, we would like to have a video call to get to know you better, talk about your preferred activities, and decide which tasks would suit you. 
– As soon as possible after meeting you we will confirm whether you can stay at our field station.

Please express your interest as soon as possible!
Latest 29 Februari 2020. 

Mission of Bring the Elephant Home
Elephants are disappearing as they are struggling for their survival in many parts of the world. As a direct result of human action, there is a big chance that we will soon lose a species that plays a key role in some of the world’s greatest ecosystems. To save this magnificent species from extinction, BTEH aims to create a world in which people and elephants live together in harmony. This goal is pursued by combining community participation, education, research, capacity building and practical action to realize positive change.

Questions or suggestions? 
We are very interested in any suggestions to make our program better. Please contact us at volunteer@bteh.org.

Interested in our future volunteer and student program in South Africa?
Are you not able to join as a pioneer in April 2020, but interested in joining the program later as a student or volunteer, let us know at volunteer@bteh.org and we will send you information when the program is up and running.

We are looking for sponsors to help realizing the Elephant Field Station!
Do you know a company that might be able to sponsor materials for our field station? Please get in touch so we can discuss the options. Click here to download the sponsor letter with all the materials we need. Would you like to donate for the Elephant Field Station? This would help us so much! Click here to make an online donation now. Thank you so much!

The Elephant Field Station has been sponsored by the Wim Hof Ice Challenge, Lush Cosmetics and is inspired by Project Dragonfly of Miami University.

Pictures by Liesbeth Sluiter and Antoinette van de Water.