WildLife Group of the SAVA Wildlife elective 2016 Being a wildlife elective student, why is this so different from any other elective? Fritz van den Heever Simple really, variety is the spice of life and where else would a veterinary student find variety like in the wildlife species of South Africa. This Elective is different from any other, as all the other electives are based on how things are run at Onderstepoort academic animal hospital. Equine elective for example, cases that they see are approached the same way every time, and they see more horses than other veterinary students but it’s the same boring thing over and over every time. With wildlife on the other hand, every day is different and a brand new challenge every time. From darting Sable antelope in the scorching African sun, to helping out with ground hornbills at Loskop dam. Helping to save the rhino or even trying to keep human tuberculosis away from our national zoo elephants. Every time is different and even more exciting than the last. In just a few weeks we got to do hands on practical skills with 4 of the big 5 (no buffalo work unfortunately). Another aspect of this elective is the theoretical side of wildlife, such as game farming (which is a massive industry in South Africa today). But also we got to learn the theory of game capture and also the conservation side of wild animals from some of the most influential and experienced conservationists and wildlife veterinarians in the world. Another thing was the fact that we get to meet a lot of people in 6 the wildlife industry, thus the networking with people that may play a big part in our future career was also very advantageous. For example we got to go to the veterinary wildlife conference free of charge ,and also there, we got to see the real issues in wildlife veterinary practice. So I cannot speak on behalf of the students on other electives, but one thing is for sure, we get to see how things work in the real world and not in ideal hospital conditions, also the thrill of wild lion capture and a helicopter flying low over your head has no equal. I would recommend this elective for all the adventure seeking final year students of the future.