Innocent Phiri

Year 1, Bachelor of Entrepreneurial

A Journey of Discovery:

My Internship Experience with Game Rangers International


When I set foot on Zambian soil for my internship with Game Rangers International (GRI), I knew I was stepping into more than just a professional opportunity—it was a profound calling to contribute to elephant conservation in a meaningful way. As someone deeply passionate about wildlife conservation, I was eager to immerse myself in the challenges and triumphs of protecting these majestic creatures and their habitats.

From the outset, I was thrust into a world of hands-on conservation efforts and groundbreaking research. My mission was clear: to ensure a sustainable future for elephants by mitigating human-elephant conflict, promoting ethical practices, and raising awareness about the importance of conservation within local communities. This overarching goal guided my every action and decision throughout the internship.

Every day brought forth a new set of tasks and responsibilities, each designed to push me beyond my comfort zone and expand my skill set. Whether it was collecting data in the field, recording behavioural patterns, or analyzing complex datasets, I embraced each challenge with enthusiasm and determination. One particularly rewarding aspect of my internship was my involvement in a comprehensive study on elephant trauma. Through this project, I honed my ability to identify individual elephants and gained invaluable insights into their communication signals and behavioural cues. These learnings not only enhanced my understanding of elephant behaviour but also enabled me to contribute more effectively to the study's objectives.

However, the journey was not without its obstacles. As a first-year student dealing with vast volumes of video recordings, I grappled with the complexities of data management and analysis, sometimes to the point of frustration and self-doubt. Yet, it was these challenges that ultimately propelled me forward, pushing me to refine my skills and seek innovative solutions to complex problems.

Beyond the technical aspects of the internship, I discovered the importance of adaptability and resilience in the face of adversity. Living in basic accommodations and navigating unfamiliar terrain demanded flexibility and resourcefulness that I had not previously experienced. Moreover, effective communication and collaboration with experienced researchers and team members became essential to my daily routine, allowing us to work seamlessly towards our shared conservation goals.

As my internship drew to a close, I reflected on its profound impact on my personal and professional growth. Armed with a newfound sense of purpose and a wealth of hands-on experience, I am more determined than ever to continue my journey in wildlife conservation. While my time with GRI may have ended, the lessons learned and the memories forged will forever shape my path forward in the fight to protect our planet's most precious species.