The Course:

The Malilangwe Course in Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife


The Malilangwe Course in Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife is conducted in February of each year. The course is organized and coordinated by the Wild Capture Africa Trust and hosted on the Malilangwe Wildlife Estate bordering the Gonarezhou National Park in the South East Lowveld of Zimbabwe.

Over its 40+ year history, the Course has trained hundreds of wildlife veterinarians, researchers and conservation professionals from across Africa – and more broadly across the globe – in the science and art of chemical and physical restraint of wild animals.

Participants obtain a wealth of theoretical and practical experience through a blend of formal lectures, hands on training and fieldwork while building networks and experiences with a truly diverse array of highly experienced lecturers and fellow participants from all corners of the globe.

The two key ingredients of this Course are (1) the unique team of highly experienced wildlife veterinarians, wildlife managers and capture practitioners (“silver-backs”) who give freely of their time to pass on their extensive knowledge and experience to (2) what is inevitably a diverse group of skilled and talented students from all over the conservation world.

This state of art training course integrates a variety of topics including legislation, theoretical and applied pharmacology, theoretical and applied physiology, stress and capture related deaths, safety and first aid in the field, use of helicopters, principles, chemical immobilization and species requirements, drug injecting equipment, dart projectors, ancillary treatments in wildlife capture, transport of wild animals, and post mortem techniques. The course teaches both the art and science, with a strong practical field component.

Lectures are held in a modern, custom designed education/conference facility at Hakamela Camp, which also provides accommodation in comfortable chalets with 2 beds per chalet. Spill over accommodation is provided at Kwhali Camp near to the Estate’s HQ. The field aspects of the course are conducted at various locations within the Estate. This allows for a comprehensive education in both the theoretical and practical aspects of wildlife capture. The field aspects are conducted in a wild and free-roaming environment, so safety is paramount.

The course is held for 10 days every year (next course: 8-17 February 2019)

The course has been designed to service both local and international veterinarians and wildlife management specialists. The week’s lectures and practicals culminate in both a written and oral exam. Upon successful completion of the examinations, candidates will receive a course certificate for the Chemical & Physical Restraint of Wildlife, those who fail will get a certificate of attendance. Veterinarians do not have to write the exam and sit orals but are encouraged to do so.

The Malilangwe Wildlife Estate has been host to the course since 2000. Malilangwe is a large multi-use game ranch situated in the Chiredzi District of south-east Zimbabwe, an area known as the ‘lowveld’. The reserve is operated under the Malilangwe Trust, a non-profit Zimbabwean organization dedicated to both wildlife and environmental conservation, and rural development. The estate has a large amount of wildlife, including elephant, hippo, buffalo, eland, giraffe, lion, wild dog, black and white rhino and many other species that have been introduced onto the land by the Trust.

This course represents the evolution of ideas, knowledge, and experience over the last 30 years that can only be of benefit to the wildlife industry in southern Africa and those professionals around the world working with captive or free-ranging wild animals. In addition, this course provides tremendous opportunities to network with fellow professionals, and is an experience that will not be forgotten for years to come.


  1. NB Attendance of the course does NOT entitle any person to procure, possess or administer any scheduled substance in Zimbabwe or any other country.
  2. Only first-time non-veterinarians wishing to apply for a DDL in Zimbabwe as well as all sponsored students – regardless of their qualification or prior attendance – are obliged to write the examination. Any other student may elect to write the examination on a voluntary basis.
  3. For those students who are obliged or who choose to write the examination, please be advised that:
    1. The Examination is structured as follows:
      1. Written Paper 1: General written paper – 120 marks; 120 minutes
      2. Written Paper 2: Safety and Regulatory aspects: 60 marks; 30 minutes
      3. 3 x 15-minute orals – Panel A = Physiology, Pharmacology and General Theory (20 marks); Panel B = equipment and practical questions (20 marks); Panel C = dart loading practical (10 marks).
    2. For candidates to pass and be accredited as being competent in the safe and legal possession and administration of Dangerous Drugs:
      1. The candidate must achieve a sub-minimum of 65% in Written Paper 2 (Safety and Regulatory)
      2. The candidate must pass the overall examination with the pass-mark being determined by the Norm-Referenced Standard Method (pass mark = class average minus one standard deviation).