PICTURES: Ezemvelo staff get ’hands on’ with snakes and alligators during training session

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 22, 2021

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DURBAN: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff underwent some intense training this week, and got up close and personal with snakes and alligators as part of a training programme hosted by South African conservationist Dingo Dinkelman.

Each session saw 15 to 20 of Ezemvelo’s district conservation officers, district regional managers and scientists taking part in a course focused on reptile handling, husbandry training, snake identification and snake handling.

These sessions, which will become an annual programme, were led by award-winning wildlife conservationist and adventurer, Dingo, at his Hillcrest base.

“Ezemvelo does amazing work for local conservation, with their duties often involving visiting wild places and dealing with wild animals,” said Dingo.

He said, because budgets are often limited, he reached out to assist in whatever way he could, which is how the training programmes were established.

“The focus is on upskilling, enhancing knowledge and providing attendees with an opportunity to experience reptiles up close. It’s about ridding fear where there is fear, and ensuring everyone is prepared to fulfil their duties,” said Dingo.

He said that no long-lasting conservation efforts can be achieved in isolation.

“There is no individual or organisation big enough or equipped with sufficient skills and resources to change the world on their own for conservation. Collaboration is absolutely key, which is why I believe in collaborations such as these. Every organisation has its strengths and we can all help each other, and the natural world, by sharing knowledge, expertise and experience,” added Dingo.

“We believe that the training provided by Dingo will assist us immensely in carrying out our daily duties of inspection and monitoring. It would be risky to embark on these tasks with limited knowledge of reptile handling, so we are really grateful to Dingo for willingly spending his time with us and sharing his expertise,” said Musa Mntambo, spokesperson for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Dingo established a close connection with the natural world from an early age, travelling with his family to South Africa’s wildlife parks and rehabilitating wildlife at their home.

As an adult, he and a like-minded team started creating wildlife adventure and conservation films to connect others to nature. In 2017, he garnered international recognition when he entered and won the Cell C and Blink Pictures #BreakTheNet (#BTN) competition.

He’s subsequently launched his world-famous Dingo Dinkelman YouTube Channel, featuring incredible wildlife escapades, with more than 350 000 subscribers – with views growing steadily, averaging 3 million views monthly and an incredible 40 million views a year.

He’s also involved in a number of ongoing conservation projects, for which he secures international sponsorship, gives “edu-taining” talks to schoolchildren and runs exhilarating team building experiences for organisations across the country – all focused on instilling a love of the wild.

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