Agents could soon be able to offer clients the chance to get actively involved in helping with wildlife conservation efforts in South Africa.
Representation firm Perfections of Africa, which has been operating in South Africa for 14 years, has set up a UK office and is talking to tour operators and agents about offering holidaymakers the chance to assist vets, helicopter pilots and game wardens on half-day conservation trips.
Mark Young, Perfections UK partner and director, told TTG the business was working with South Africa-based Ranger Buck Safaris to offer experiences through the UK travel trade for the first time.
“It all started in 2003 with the idea of getting actively involved with trying to save the rhino,” Young explained. “We realised funding was required for research to ultimately try to save the species. The fact guests can assist with funding and actually physically assist in the process is unique.
“Ranger Buck wants to offer guests a truly unique conservation experience – giving back to local communities and animals is huge right now.”
Guests can help with procedures such as checking an animal’s general health, putting on a new tracking collar or even removing a rhino’s horn, which renders the animal worthless to poachers.
The majority of procedures are carried out on rhinos, but there are also conservation projects for elephants, lions and wild dogs. “The funds are used to pay for the actual research work undertaken by the professional team,” said Young.
“The costs include helicopter for darting, wildlife veterinarians and the game ranging team required for the particular operation. Our team are well versed and experienced in these procedures.”
The price paid by clients will depend on the cost of the conservation activity and number of visitors taking part.
Young added discussions with operators were at an early stage and that he hoped to confirm some deals in coming weeks.