If you want to take part in protecting endangered species from becoming extinct, then participating in wildlife conservation might be just the thing for you. Volunteering for such projects means you get to lend a helping hand to endangered species under threat of human activities or influences. You can care for domestic and exotic wildlife while you save species from extinction due to things like loss of habitat.
These conservation projects usually happen at dedicated rescue centers where you help care for abandoned or injured animals. Activities you might participate in include things like observing and monitoring exotic species with an emphasis on preventing poaching or just collecting more research. Other times, you might just work with animals that simply can’t be released in the wilderness again.
Do Your Part For Wildlife
Wildlife conservation projects happen on nearly every continent, so the array of possibilities you can explore is quite diverse. One very highly rated opportunity is the Batu Kapal conservation project. It takes place close to the Gunung Leuser national park in Indonesia. In your time here, you can wake up to the noise of monkeys calling from shores of the nearby river. You can meet people you stay friends with for a very long time, and together you all will make memories, whether it’s in the jungle or learning the local culture. The primary focus of this particular opportunity is saving orangutans in one of the planet’s oldest rainforests.
South Africa is another popular destination for wildlife conservation, where you can volunteer to assist with monitoring the Big 5 animals in the Marakele National Park. You can get personal experience in tracking and observing wildlife, doing data recording, camera trap processing and much more while you spend up to 12 hours each day in the field. You’ll also pick up quite a bit about anti-poaching, sustainable living, and park management.
There’s also a horse sanctuary in Spain frequently open for volunteer assignments to those interested in wildlife conservation. Here, you can look after horses, help promote the welfare of equine animals, and even pick up some horsemanship skills of your own along the way. You’ll see these animals from a fresh point of view and take yourself out of your previous comfort zones.
The benefits of being a wildlife conservation volunteer run deeper than you may think. It might be obvious to you that you would, of course, be helping the animals, but there’s a lot you would also be doing for yourself. Conservation of wildlife needs to happen more and more so that the greater public becomes more aware of it all. Still, you’re primarily doing this for your own experience and benefit in the end.
The greatest reward that many volunteers report is simply being a part of something so much larger than themselves. Many people claim to care for the environment and the world, but how many can actually say they actively chipped in when they heard the call to protect the world’s biodiversity? You’ll be proud to be able to raise your hand, and you’ll be grateful for having had the chance to be a part of the big picture.
Your work won’t just be done on-site. It’s important, of course, but you’ll raise the level of awareness needed for endangered species both before and after your trip. You’ll likely let some friends and family know before you go, but you can make a real impact when you get back. Just your social media photos, posts, and stories will accomplish so very much.
It’s always great to make friends, but few friends are going to be as unique as the international group of wildlife volunteers you meet while on a conservation trip. People bond easier and faster when they have something in common, and in these locales, what everyone cares about is the health and protection of endangered animals. There was a time you’d make such friends, never to see or hear from them again unless you were penpals. However, social media and mass communication let you all stay in touch and maybe even meet up together on future trips.
The opportunity for cultural exchange is a lot greater on trips like these as compared to being a tourist. You’ll work closely with locals and learn much about their way of life so you can adjust and fit in wherever you are. You’ll certainly broaden your horizons, and you might even pick up a few skills or ideas that help you out back home. International travel and volunteer experiences are very attractive attributes to quite a few hiring managers. On top of that, you’ll likely get a chance to either practice or learn different languages along the way. Multilingual people definitely fare better in a global economy!
If you’re really interested in wildlife conservation, then you might be thinking about trying it as a career. If so, trips like these are great ways to dip your toe in the water so to speak. You can learn about things like zoology, scientific research, and veterinary medicine, letting you sample them free of commitment before you decide on a career path for sure.
Having said that, if you’re already in a related career, be it biology, zookeeping, veterinary work, or pet training, trips like these are tremendous career assets to put on your CV or resume.
If you can bring friends or family along, things get even sweeter. These are bonding opportunities that give you and your loved ones a chance to go through a once-in-a-lifetime experience together that no one else can take away from you.
Of course, it doesn’t have to really be once in a lifetime. Many choose to volunteer on an annual basis for one of their holidays or vacations, or even more often. It’s a chance to get away from the daily grind of their lives, and they can enjoy nature while helping it out at the same time. A lot of hard work might be involved, but if you have a desk job or the like, you might just want that.
Phil McNamara is a drinking water industry expert. He has been engaged in the study of water issues since shortly after graduating from college and shares his expertise on the Water Filters FAST website. When he’s not keeping up on the latest water filters and purification systems, he likes to spend his time exploring the beautiful landscapes of Arkansas.