Winner, Experiences category
Bradley Venable, Auburn University '14
Do you know just how adventurous the veterinary profession can be? Full of twists and turns, some of which you could never be prepared for. Our profession provides a world of opportunity waiting for you to take advantage of it. I definitely didn’t anticipate the story I am about to tell you.
The minute I signed up for the Parawild African Wildlife management course at Western Kentucky University, I knew I was in for a treat. I was set for a month long stay at various locations throughout South Africa, which involved capturing and relocating wild game for conservation purposes. Just about 22 hours of flights put this small town Kentucky boy in a daze. I was exhausted but exhilarated to be working with leopards, kudu, elephants, giraffes, and impala among others including the infamous zebra. Throughout the course of the trip we were given crash courses on darting, animal behavior, conservation biology, anesthesia, and animal restraint. None of which could ever prepare me for what was to happen. It was our last day at the Phelwanna game lounge and it was absolutely perfect. The winter sun was glaring and the wind was just enough to provide relief but not quite strong enough to reveal our ninja like movements. That day, our mission was to capture three zebra and relocate them via horse trailer. We had successfully immobilized and loaded up the first two targets by means of an M99 cocktail and were administering the reversal to the third when it happened in a flash. One second I stood firmly on two feet; the next, I was flat on my back on the dry South African soil. In shock, I was left to wonder if I had signed up for this kind of adventure.