Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 02:00PM
Julia Kochan, Ross University
This certainly was an experience – a veterinary experience? Questionable. Although I went into this trip expecting “the unexpected,” knowing full well that you cannot create medical emergencies out of thin air, I did not expect the extreme excess of down-time that we experienced through ACE. Most of our time was spent doing game capture, which was fun for maybe the first 2 hours. Overall though, we probably spent a majority of our time running curtains across a “boma” – or in lay terms, a device created to “funnel” wild antelopes into a truck. Again, seeing the animals was fun and exciting, but that wore off after about 2 or 3 hours. The veterinarian that was in charge of our trip allegedly “dropped” us, and we were left in the hands of Boondocks, the animal capture and relocation company. Countless hours were spend napping in a lodge with no electricity, and no access to anything outside of the game reserve. I think in lieu of our expected cancellation from the veterinarian that ACE could have stepped up to the plate and taken us around to do some sightseeing or visit some local parks – we are in Africa after all.
After spending over $5000 US, we did deserve some activity other than playing cards in a lodge. However, I can’t completely bash this trip, because we did do a few veterinary-related procedures. An injured lioness was treated, under the supervision of another veterinarian with a group of Ross students, which we soon became envious of. There was another time we tagged along with that group of students to dart and move some sable and perform an arthrotomy on a Rhino. We did some individual translocation of some large antelope on our own, and we found some time to perform necropsies on two springbok. So the whole trip wasn’t a complete waste, we did have a few isolated veterinary experiences. However, Boondocks treated us like children, did not allow us to casually drink or do anything social, and talked down to us as if we were “beneath them” and not there to participate in a work experience that we had paid for. I would not recommend this company to Ross students looking for a veterinary experience. Wildlife Vets and another smaller veterinary group had much more veterinary experiences, were treated well, and left wanting to go back. Unfortunately, I left with no intention of returning to Africa, which was very disappointing.