Those who are looking for top-notch, well-rounded veterinary work experience often go to great lengths (and span great distances) just to be where it all happens: at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) in Africa. Here, trainees get hands-on experience in some of the most important aspects of veterinary work and, perhaps more importantly, gain some insight into the whole wildlife conservation campaign.
Mastering a Unique Skill Set
On some level, working in the field in Africa, right at the heart of wildlife country, is something like that famous song about New York: ‘if you make it here, you’ll make it anywhere’. The veterinary work experience you will gain at the HESC offers the opportunity to master certain survival skills that should enable you to ensure your safety and survival in the wild. What’s more, these lessons are not dished out in the confines of a classroom but are held in situ out in the field and are combined with fun activities that serve the double purposes of learning and sightseeing. For example, sloshing through the foamy water on a raft down the Blyde River Canyon presents an opportunity to learn how to negotiate rapids and cope with the potential dangers of a situation in a controlled and fun way. You can also explore the region on a hot air balloon. And if you have any new ideas you can make a request to the project leader, who will then see if the suggestion would work out with the rest of the team.
Actual Hands-on Experience in Treating Animals
Part of serving as a veterinarian, whether you are in a place like Africa or in some prestigious animal clinic in London, is the treatment animals, from administering medication to performing delicate surgery. That is why an integral aspect of the veterinary work experience offered at the HESC is the hands-on training in surgery and medical treatment. You will have the chance to put theory into practice under the close guidance of some of the Centre’s most experienced and talented veterinarians. There is plenty of medical work at the HESC everyday, which means you’ll have an abundance of opportunity to get involved in an extensive range of procedures.
A Closer Look at Wildlife Conservation
Eventually, as you work daily and engage in veterinary work experience at the HESC, you will begin to appreciate that you are experiencing things that only an insider like you will have the fortune to see. It becomes more obvious that the people who give their time, talent, and resources to help in protecting vulnerable and endangered species in Africa are a special kind of people and their drive, passion and integrity starts to rub off on you. That is why even a brief stint at Hoedspruit is often regarded as ‘life-changing’. At the basic level you will not only be involved in helping out with rearing or hand-feeding the young, but you will also begin to learn that wildlife conservation is much more than just tracking wild game or encouraging breeding or protecting them from poachers, it is also about empowering the local human population and encouraging them to work with, rather than against the wild animals. A stint at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, therefore, offers the opportunity to help you become a ‘veterinarian for all seasons’.