Volunteer with AERU

Help us conduct research and learn about elephants ...

The Park welcomes volunteers from all over the world through the African Elephant Research Unit (AERU)

No prior qualifications to are needed volunteer other than a love of animals and a desire to help. Our programmes also help build up experience for those involved in academic pursuits, whether in natural sciences or in research.
Working with elephants is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. As a volunteer you will contribute to a host of research and welfare aspects:

  • Help with elephant care – Preparing food and musical enrichments.
  • General maintenance and conservation – cleaning out of the elephant camps, plant nursery care and alien plant management.
  • Support fund-raising through crafts creation, like making dung paper, upcycled elephant key chains and other merchandise.
  • Environmental education initiatives and activities

The primary role of volunteers at the Park is to assist the AERU team to collect research data from the elephants at KEP and other facilities. These include the following:

  • Monitoring of behaviour – Following and observing elephants in the field, recording behaviours such as grazing, drinking, playing, dusting and walking.
  • Recording social interactions between elephants – how they relate to, and communicate with, each other using their trunks and bodies
  • Night-time observations of elephant behaviour – what is a good night’s sleep for an elephant?
  • Observing and recording interactions between elephants and tourists
  • Botanical surveys of the park – relating plant diversity to grazing patterns and elephant distribution
  • Studies of feeding behaviour and plants eaten by the elephants
  • Making enrichments for the elephants
  • Collection of dung, urine and other samples for physiological analysis
  • Data input and analysis
  • Compilation of educational presentations.

Through their work, our volunteers are directly involved in elephant research and aid in providing information that relates directly to the welfare and management of
semi-captive elephants at KEP and throughout South Africa.
The data collected by volunteers not only contributes to the management of the park, but also to ongoing and future research projects being conducted by both local and
international universities.
The participation of dedicated and hard-working volunteers is integral to AERU’s success, and their contribution is both valued and appreciated. We ask all our volunteers to be enthusiastic, dedicated, willing and able to get involved with anything and have a genuine love of wildlife.
Many of these projects involve long hours of data collecting, observing the herd, not for the faint-hearted. However, the rewards are many, knowing that you are contributing to their welfare and our overall understanding of these gentle giants.
As you spend time familiarising with the elephants, you become part of our herd!
We look forward to welcoming you to the team! For more information, please visit us at www.aeru.co.za or contact us at volunteer@aeru.co.za.

Volunteer for Elephants
Volunteer for Elephants
Volunteer for Elephants
Volunteer for Elephants