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Meet Matthew – a wildlife conservation volunteer in South Africa

Article by GVI

GVI

Posted: August 12, 2022

3 min read

 

We caught up with Matthew Greenhalgh, a passionate wildlife photographer and recent participant on a wildlife conservation expedition in Limpopo, South Africa. Looking to start a career in wildlife conservation, Matthew shares his experience as a conservation volunteer in South Africa.

 

Matthew and other participants in Limpopo

Photo by: Matthew Greenhalgh

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself

 

My name is Matthew. I’m 24 and from sunny Blackpool in North West England. I previously studied applied science and achieved a triple distinction. I’ve also taken part in an online course with animal welfare which I’m in the process of completing.

I’m very adventurous and love being/working alongside nature and the wildlife it has to offer. I’m also an avid wildlife photographer which has come in handy while I was in South Africa for one month on a volunteering program.

 

What were you doing before you joined GVI and what are you doing now?

 

Before joining GVI, I worked at an aquatic store, breeding and selling ornamental fish for ponds. Since arriving back from South Africa, I’ve gone back to full time work, but I’m definitely going to go back to South Africa and continue making a difference. I’ve joined GVI’s ambassador program and look forward to hopefully returning very soon!

 

Which program did you choose to join, and why?

 

Rhino family

Photo by: Matthew Greenhalgh

 

I chose the wildlife expedition program at GVI’s Limpopo base in South Africa for a number of reasons. Firstly, I’ve always wanted to contribute to wildlife conservation and would love to make a career of it. Secondly, I think this course was the perfect entry into this field of work. I’ve shared a passion for wildlife for as long as I can remember so to actually do this course was absolutely amazing!

 

What did a typical day look like at GVI Limpopo?

 

Cheetah looking into the camera

Photo by: Matthew Greenhalgh

 

A typical day in Limpopo consisted of a very early start at 5am – which took some time to get used to! We would then go on a morning drive and record data on various species. We focused mainly on the female cheetah. We then headed back to base, where we’d do various activities – like studies, volleyball, shared base duties, photography work, lectures etc. – around the base. We would then go on an afternoon drive and record as much data as possible! Once this was concluded, we all ate dinner together and prepared for the next day!

 

What did you get up to in your free time?

 

Hippo in the river

Photo by: Matthew Greenhalgh

 

In my free time I ventured into Kruger National Park (which doesn’t need an introduction) and that was absolutely amazing. I am an avid wildlife photographer, so I spent a lot of my free time photographing the amazing wildlife and scenery South Africa has to offer! I also really enjoyed when we would go into the local town where we got to experience and learn about the local culture.

 

What were the highlights of your time in South Africa?

 

A sunset in the safari

Photo by: Matthew Greenhalgh

 

My experience was nothing but the best! It lived up to my expectations and then some, to work alongside the wildlife in South Africa was nothing but short of a dream come true! The wide array of wildlife South Africa offers is staggering. For someone who’s wanting to start a career in conservation, this program is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

Where can we see what you’re getting up to next?

 

I have a few social media pages/handles. My two Instagram handles are @Matt_greenhalgh97 and @matt_greenhalgh_photography. I also have a Facebook account under the name Matthew Greenhalgh.

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