Prajwal Shetty Kaup lives in Bangalore, India and volunteered with African Impact at Antelope Park. Having always wished to work with animals, Prajwal was able to make her dream come true this year in Zimbabwe. As a kid I always wanted to work with animals and growing up, the dream still remained. Finally I made up my mind to get a break from my desk job, and do something about following my dream. African Impact is what I found and choosing Antelope Park was the best decision I’ve ever made. The staff members ensure you’re looked after well and being at Antelope Park, you feel right at home. The food is amazing, so if you think going there you’re going to lose weight, trust me you won’t! The first two days were allocated for an induction, which was very interesting. I was even introduced to the snakes found in Zimbabwe and to tracking science - I learnt a lot. I never knew how impalas mate or how you differentiate between a male and a female giraffe by looking at their poop. The way nature works… amazing!!! Then we were introduced to the lions in the breeding program. We were also taken for a night excursion, where we could see the lions in action and watch their hunting skills. After the introduction, the volunteering and fun began! Boarding a plane and travelling abroad for the first time, just to experience this was incredible. Starting off your day walking with the lions where you get to interact with them closely, watch them stalk zebras, impalas, giraffes and antelope at the park. The feeling of walking with these magnificent creatures is out of this world. The next beautiful creature after lions for me is an elephant, and getting introduced to the elephants at Antelope Park was mind blowing. We were asked to train them for half an hour, as the elephants are used for hour-long rides across Antelope Park. Later we were asked to herd them back where we got an opportunity to prepare food for these beautiful “eles.” We got the opportunity to do “cub sits”, where we would interact, play and watch over the young lions. Two hours didn’t seem sufficient with those tiny lions – I could lose myself watching them play and sleep. After all of the lovely walks with the lions, cubs and elephants it was time for us to get our hands dirty. We cleaned the lion and elephant enclosures – which was quite a task. When I was cleaning the elephant enclosure, the eles got naughty and never let me do my work, which made it really interesting. Snare sweeping and boundary fence checks, essential and very important tasks, were also completed – obviously we can’t let our animals get hurt! To add onto these hands-on jobs, we had horse riding lessons, and I particularly loved grooming the horses and mules. The most interesting thing that happened during my stay was game capture. Every volunteer got a chance to participate, either with Wildebeest, Impala, or Zebra. And I was involved with the capture of Zebras where we had to capture them and release them into the Stage 2 program. Being a volunteer at Antelope Park is the best experience I’ve ever had in my life. I lived my dream in those 15 days, and these days will be cherished all my life. Have you always wanted to volunteer with animals, too? Get up close and personal with our lions by volunteering at Antelope Park, or support the efforts to save Africa’s lions by supporting our charity, ALERT.