The Peterhouse Group of Schools offers a course that prepares senior pupils for their Learner Hunter/Guides’ exam set by National Parks whereby they enter the industry as a apprentice. It is run by Mrs Penny Raynor, the schools’ Conservation Officer.
For pupils who are interested in a career in wildlife, this is a unique opportunity.
Many field trips are organised each year to reinforce what they learn in the classroom to places such as Mana Pools (World Heritage Site), Rifa Conservation Education Camp in Chirundu, Save Valley, Nyakasanga camp (run by the Zimbabwe Hunters’ Association), Imire Game Park, the Snake Park and Bird Sanctuary.
The nature of these visits allows pupils to experience the biodiversity of the country and walking in the bush always produces surprises such as close encounters with elephants and prides of lions.
Practical experience of topics such as the differences between male and female animals, estimates of trophy sizes and animal behaviour and tracking are put to the test as well as the study of geology and vegetation types in the area.
Observation, identification, dissection and detailed drawings are made of trees, pods, plants, birds, fish and insects.
Evening talks are given on the night skies – naming and mapping the various constellations and individual stars, with the aid of a laser torch – modern technology at its best in the bush!!
Students try their hand at fishing for Tiger, Chessa, Cornish Jack, Bream, Nkupe and Mbiri.
They spend time learning how to measure skulls and horns, some practical roadside mechanics, road clearing, hunting game and quelea bird. It is well known that the quelea birds flock and literally devastate food crops in rural areas.
Familiarisation walks gives them the opportunity to track spoor from animals such as hyena, elephant, zebra, lion, leopard, impala, wild dog, kudu, waterbuck, porcupine etc.
Boys are given the unique chance to work with professional hunters on site during the recovery process of trophy animals and are then able to witness the large number of vultures that usually congregate to feed.
Our young Learner Hunter Guides also visit places closer to home such as Imire Game Park, just outside Marondera, where they have the opportunity to ride elephants and work close with the game there including the rhino programme.