The Course is held annually. It lasts 10 days, including the final examination day. Individuals can fly into Harare, where transport to the lowveld will be arranged, others will travel by vehicle from surrounding countries and from various locations in Zimbabwe.
The Course is a comprehensive training course for veterinarians, researchers, and managers involved in wildlife and conservation work. Only veterinarians are allowed to attend the course from South Africa, an agreement with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC), designed to tighten up the use of Schedule 6 drugs used in game capture.
Non-veterinarians can be selected based on merit and peer review from other African countries and Internationally. Zimbabweans (vets and non-vets) are also key participants in the Course, both as first timers and with a number of refresher attendees, a legal requirement for Zimbabwe Dangerous Drug license holders.The course has been designed to provide a maximum amount of theoretical and practical information over the course of a week. The successful completion of the course and passing the examination indicates that an individual will be armed with a better understanding and knowledge – but not necessarily experience – to do as professional a job as possible and demonstrate concern for animal welfare when capturing and handling wildlife. The course is designed to get people started with some experience, which will need to be built on over months and years. It does not make one an expert overnight! Networking at the course allows the establishment of contacts with experienced wildlife veterinarians, game capture operators and researchers – always a phone call away after the course is completed
Key Zimbabwe based organizations and institutions include: The ZWVT, Zimbabwe Veterinary Association Wildlife Group and the GVS Wildlife Unit. The ZVA represents the veterinarians of Zimbabwe and is a respected member of the international veterinary community. The Association holds a biannual conference and publishes the Zimbabwe Veterinary Journal. The ZVA has a close relationship with the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) and its Wildlife Group and the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC). Other close associations internationally, include International Wildlife Veterinary Services (IWVS) based in California, USA and Wildlife Pharmaceuticals, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
The course is comprehensive and addresses many important aspects of the safe and effective chemical and physical restraint of wildlife. Some current lecture topics include:
- Basic and applied physiology
- Legal considerations
- Basic pharmacology
- Immobilizing drugs
- Principles of physical & chemical capture & restraint
- Handling of immobilizing drugs, safety & first aid
- Species requirements with regards drugs
- Stress & capture related mortality
- Basic weapon handling
- Ballistics and darting systems
- Overview of physical capture methods
- Post mortem investigation