Student volunteer: Daniel Villela

Gertjie and Daniel 12.06

We have a new helping hand at the centre, who is here for a few weeks to assist  in collecting footage of our animals!

Here is what Daniel has to say:

My name is Daniel Villela, I was born and raised in Brasil Brasilia.

I have been fascinated by African wildlife since the first time I watched a natgeo documentary, when I was around 10 years old. 

In 2011 I come to South Africa for the first time as a volunteer in Malelane Mapumalanga, when I was 18 years old.

In 2014 I started studying Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Stellenbosch.

After a year and a half studying I realised that I didn’t belong in a class room, so 2 months ago, I dropped my studies and went to the Southern African Wildlife College in Limpopo to do a 3 week Wildlife Film course.

Since I first come to South Africa I got really into rhino conservation, and always wanted to do some thing to help them, thand to get my degree at my wildlife film course I had to do a 5 min video, so I made a movie about rhino poaching, African Nightmare Rhino wars, with the intention to bring attention to this problem in South Africa


While I was doing my course, I came to  the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre to get some extra footage. We had an awesome tour around, with a very nice guide.

At the end of the tour, just before I left I spoke to Ilana, the adman manager. I explained that I was very eager to work here, as being around animals has always been my dream, and more importantly, being able to help and take care of them.

So at my last day at the wildlife college, I was quite unsure with my future, because I just dropped my studies, my course was done and I had no idea of what I was going to do with my life, so suddenly my phone rings and it was a call from HESC, they call me because they needed someone to help take pictures and film the animals for the blog.

So here I’m 1 week later, so far my experience at HESC has been amazing, I’m so honoured  to have the chance of working in a place where people really care about nature, and the safety of the animals comes first.

Working at HESC has been one of the best experiences of my life, Every day I learn more and more about wild life, nature and conservation.

The work vibe here is very good, everybody is very friendly, and I’m making good friends

I’m so thankful for this job, expecialy because I have the amazing opportunity to take care of our little rhino gertije, and learn about rhino behaviour as I wanna become an wild life filmmaker.

I only have 2 weeks left, and I’m trying to enjoy and especially learn as much as I can

I have already decided that next year I wanna come back to this area to do a field ranger training and a fgasa as well so I can continue learning and helping to protect our wildlife, and may be become a field guide for a few years

Houdspruit Endangered Species Centre – thanks so much, what you guys are doing is amazing.

The experience that I had, expecialy with Little G is worth much more than any fortune in the world.

You can watch Daniel’s short film on the nightmare of rhino poaching here: