Student update: Introduction – 16 January 2014

Tamsyn Varley

The first week has been lovely. Coming from rainy England, there is a big difference in environment to adjust to. Working with really nice people which look after us and provide us with amazing interaction with the animals for example, being able to cuddle and play with the cheetahs.

As well as working at the centre, we have been able to visit the Blyde River Canyon, go on a game drive and go river rafting and zip lining.

Alice England

I am a qualified Veterinary Nurse who usually works in a veterinary hospital in Cornwall, UK. My first week of HESC was times hard for me. Although I have been to SA a few times before I have never worked while here or seen the more odorous side of animal care! My strong stomach has been thoroughly tested! However, I am still enjoying myself and commencing the second week, we are having more opportunities to interact with the residents. At first just seeing them at feeding time was enough but now we really are starting to get hands on which has made up for the more ponderous tasks.

My friend and I have had the unique opportunity to blood sample the ‘teenage’ cheetahs and spent the afternoon frolicking with savannah (serval) and Chris (injured cheetah). My favourite animals are the Wild Dog and daily meetings have been amazing.

We also spent one morning relocating a large male and while he was unimpressed I was in awe.

This has been such a unique experience and I cant wait to see what we get up to next, though I hope it does not involve many more trips to the vulture restaurant.

Sophie Pontin

I am currently working as a qualified veterinary Nurse in a small animal practice in South Wales, UK.

The experience at HESC has been in complete contrast to my normal working day, but has been both enjoyable and enlightening. The best part for me was being given the opportunity to blood sample the cheetahs which has allowed me to really get hands on with the animals and utilise my nursing skills in a different context.

It has also been an opportunity to see the centre in action even if some of the jobs are a bit smelly at times! But being able to get up close and personal with some of the residents like Savannah and Chris has more than made up for it. This has been my first visit to SA and working here at HESC has made it an unforgettable experience. I can’t wait for the next chapter to see what is in store for us.