One of the first people that I met upon my arrival to Antelope Park, as a lion conservation volunteer, was Emily Seidel. She had also just arrived and was going to be starting an internship placement with ALERT. Like the lion conservation volunteers, she was going to be getting to work with the lions hands-on, except she had a bigger role, wherein she would assist with more of the logistics of what duties had to be carried out and would help to – as they say in Africa- ‘make a plan’. She took her job very seriously, but didn’t let the responsibility get to her head and was always the life of the party. When I think of my time as a lion conservation volunteer at Antelope Park, I can’t imagine it without thinking of Emily.
Meet Lion Conservation Volunteer: Emily Seidel
Emily Seidel is a twenty-one year old student currently finishing her final year of university at the University of Georgia in the United States. She’s in the pre-veterinary program and hopes to attend vet school next fall.
1. How did you find out about ALERT & Antelope Park?
I heard about ALERT through a friend of mine at university. She did the same Animal Management internship at the Livingstone project and recommended I apply for the same internship.
2. Why did you choose voluntourism as a way to spend your vacation time?
I chose to intern with ALERT because I knew I wanted to spend a summer working with wildlife in Africa. After researching ALERT, I realized I didn’t want to spend my summer any other way than combining travel with lions.
3. What is your favourite memory of your time at Antelope Park?It seemed like all of my favorite memories fell within the last two weeks of my internship! Being the first person to find the new D cubs and spending the morning watching them was absolutely magical. Only a week later, the P’s, Penya and Paza, made a wildebeest kill on a morning lion walk. Later that day, on my last Night Encounter, the C’s made their first kill back at AP, also on a wildebeest. Although extremely gruesome, it was still very special to watch captive-bred lions react with their wild instincts to bring down prey. After spending two months at AP, it’s hard to pick just a few favorite memories!
4. What was your favourite activity and why?
Morning research sessions with Rae and Kirsty. It was so amazing to go out into the Ngamo release site and see actual proof of the ALERT conservation approach working. Rae and Kirsty were also integral in fueling my thirst for knowledge about lions and furthered my knowledge about appropriate research techniques.
5. Were there any aspects of the volunteer program at Antelope Park that you felt could be improved?
I do feel that there could be stronger, more effective communication with the staff. It was often challenging to complete activities when it was unclear what needed to be done and when.
6. What did your time at AP teach you that you didn’t already know?
Life in Africa teaches you very quickly how to be flexible! I also learned many important management and communication techniques to improve my leadership qualities. It was also very exciting to watch the transport of wildlife and all the behind the scenes documentation and monitoring that goes along with it.
7. Going forward, in what ways will you continue to support and advocate for the plight of the lion?
I reapplied and received another internship with ALERT, this time at the Livingstone project. Although I am no longer in Africa at this time, I continue to be an ALERT ambassador and advocating for their conservation approach. Upon receipt of my DVM, I hope to focus on conservation medicine, specifically in Africa, to give a veterinary approach to lion and other wildlife conservation.
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Check out some more amazing people are taking time out of their daily lives to go be lion conservation volunteers!
Justine Williams from Canada
Lauren Waterfield from the USA
Sharon Rose from Australia