“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
This quote by Anatole France is a clear indication of how much importance animals have for the humankind. The love and affection for one’s pets is something very common, as we treat them as our family and shower them with utmost love, but over the years, more and more people are becoming aware of stepping out of their comfort zone and provide adequate protection to those living in the wild.
We can’t deny the fact that global warming and urbanization have led to some serious problems for those thriving in the wild. Many animals have suffered due to lack of food and habitation, change in weather and displacement. To add to that, the recent forest fires in Amazon & bushfires in Australia has led to an immense disaster, pushing a lot of species towards getting endangered. In such a situation, the world really needs the support of active volunteers who can step ahead and contribute effectively towards the protection & conservation of the wildlife, alongside the conservationists.
Whether you are an animal lover or not, it’s a humanitarian call for you to be a part of the Wildlife Conservation Projects across the world and contribute in whatever way you can. Volunteering Solutions, in association with local organizations, has curated a bunch of incredible & affordable programs meant for students, gap year travelers and backpackers, across various countries and you can choose to join any of these.
If you have a soul to care, this is your chance to make a move and travel to Australia, to help the koalas, wombats, and wallabies! This program is meant for all those animal-loving souls who are keen to volunteer abroad for a meaningful cause and contribute effectively towards the wellbeing of the native animals in Oz. Located near Mount Larcom, a rural town in northern Australia, you’ll get to work at a rescue center and shelter home, which has an abundance of animals in temporary or permanent care at any given time. Apart from the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby and Northern and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, you may care for wildlife such as sugar gliders, lizards, non-venomous snakes, koalas, and native birds. It’ll be a great opportunity for you to learn more about these animals while working closely with professional conservationists.
Who wouldn’t love to spend a few days adoring the fluffballs? Ah well, know that you wouldn’t be allowed to go too close to these Giant Pandas, but you’ll get to work for their good life and do something meaningful for them while volunteering at the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Conservation Center. As a volunteer, your main tasks would be to feed panda, clean their enclosures, panda feces analysis, making intelligence toys for giant pandas, learning about rescue and scientific research of giant pandas, making artwork and souvenirs about the giant panda, planting bamboos for pandas, panda behavior observation, etc. As you might know it already, the giant panda is the mascot for the World Wildlife Conservation Association & it’s high time that we do something to provide them a better world to survive.
If you’re one of those who loves to live by the beaches, then this is the perfect program for you! Spend your days soaking in the tropical weather of Sri Lanka while volunteering for the conservation of the turtles and get actively involved in the beach cleaning procedures. Due to a rise in the footfall of tourists in Sri Lanka, the beaches of Galle are getting extremely polluted with several plastic bottles and packets littering here and there. This is your chance to be a responsible traveler and do your part in cleaning these beaches, to provide adequate shelter to the turtles who thrive here. The main focus of this project is to protect the turtle eggs as well as the baby turtles, and subsequently increase their population. This includes preserving the eggs from predators and poachers, providing a safe haven for hatchings to occur, caring for the baby, sick and injured turtles, feeding them daily and releasing the healthy ones into the ocean when ready. You’ll also get to teach the local communities about the prospects of nature conservation and how to keep the environment healthy.
For those who are looking forward to living a couple of weeks away from the chaos and cacophony of urban life – here’s a treat for you! Located amidst a quaint rural setting in Northern Thailand, the Elephant Camp Program would enable you to spend quality time with the gentle giants, while taking care of them, feeding them, bathing them and taking them out for walks. You’ll get to know how the mahouts (caretakers) have dedicated their lives to these elephants and nurturing them for years. You’d also get to soak in the vibes of traditional Thai life, learn to cook some authentic delicacies and also try your hands in making paper from elephant poop! Sounds fun, right?
You’d be surprised to know that Costa Rica is home to more than 200 species of mammals and nearly 800 species of birds. Thus, being a volunteer for this program, you’ll be working at a Rescue Center, where your main tasks would be to provide care to the animal victims of repossession, loss of habitat and accidents from all corners of the country who are brought in by local officials. Many of these animals are able to be back to health and released back into their natural habitat. You’ll get to help in food preparation for the animals and feeding them under custody, cleaning animal cages, etc. It’ll be an incredible learning opportunity for you and you’ll surely gather some valuable experiences that can be cherished for a lifetime.
Borneo Region in Malaysia is one of the richest tropical forests in the world, providing shelter to some of the unique endangered species like orangutans and sun bears. This meaningful program would let you work at the Sun Bear Conservation Center, located approximately 19 km from Sandakan town in Malaysia. As a volunteer for this program, you will need to get down and dirty taking care of the smallest bears in the world, working to clean their dens and creating environmental and food enrichment. In addition to enriching the sun bears living conditions, you will learn about sun bears in the stages of rehabilitation and the process of releasing them back into the wild. You will also have time off to explore the beautiful surroundings of Sepilok and nearby towns and wildlife sanctuaries. If you’ve got just a couple of weeks in hand, then this short term wildlife volunteering program would be the perfect choice for you!
We’ve all grown up watching the popular Madagascar movies and always felt that it’s like a dreamland! Well, not any more ‘coz now you can just catch a flight and travel to this picturesque island nation and spend your days volunteering for the conservation program. Your main role would be to assist the staff in identifying nesting areas by visiting remote beaches on islands surrounding the island of Nosy Be. This program gives volunteers the opportunity to get up close to these beautiful creatures whilst helping to ensure the health and survival of the species into the future. Currently, large numbers of turtle eggs are being plundered on many of the remote beaches, and hatchlings and fully reproductive turtles are shockingly being harvested for the souvenir trade. As a volunteer, you can play an active role in protecting these turtles and the hatchlings, and contribute towards a sustainable life for these animals.
If you have an innate love for birds and wish to work actively for their protection and rehabilitation, then this is your chance! This program focuses mainly on caring for sick or injured African Penguins (also known as Jackass Penguins) because of their vulnerability as well as other marine birds such as gannets, cormorants, and seagulls. As a volunteer, you’ll have to play an active role to rescue and rehabilitate, as well as to inform and educate the public through their different programs. The extensive displays at the center give tourists, school groups, and other visitors the opportunity to learn about these endangered birds but also a wider variety of marine life in the beautiful and incredibly diverse Algoa Bay.
This one of a kind program has been curated by Volunteering Solutions, in partnership with the Ecuadorian Environmental Police (UPMA) and the Ministry of Environment in the fight against the trafficking, abuse, capture, and hunting of wild animals. This center is very organized and volunteers can help with caring for the animals and maintenance. Needless to say, it’s gonna provide you with an experience of a lifetime as you’ll get to work with professionals, learning more about the species and how to take care of them. There are currently at least 40 different species of animals at the center which include: Ocelot, tayra, capybara, parrots, monkeys, tortoises, and caimans amongst others. As a volunteer, your main tasks would involve taking a day to day care of the animals, preparation of diets, feeding the animals, general maintenance and cleaning, etc.
For those who are already planning a trip to Spain in 2021, can choose to spend a couple of weeks in the picturesque town of Denia (close to valencia) and be a part of this Marine Conservation Program. The gorgeous coastline here attracts a lot of water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers, and it’s majorly because of the spread of unplanned tourism, the marine life of the region bore the brunt of the increase and now calls out for conservation efforts. Being a volunteer, you’d be accompanied by professionals who’ll guide you in monitoring the whales, dolphins, and seabirds. Other than that, you’ll get to work at the wetland to improve the ecosystems and learn to accurately identify the targeted species and helping with logistical operations.
It doesn’t really matter which program you choose to be a part of, as long as you take the step of doing something meaningful and be a responsible human. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
So, take the pledge of protecting the wildlife and be a volunteer with us. To know more about our programs, you can simply write to us at [email protected] and our Program Advisors will get back to you! We’d love to have you onboard in this noble endeavor.
Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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