Volunteering with wildlife
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Mar 8, 2013 7:27 PM Last Post By: tatspaghetti
Feb 5, 2013 2:10 PM
Volunteering with wildlifeI'm looking to volunteer this summer with my 18yr old daughter. We want to get up close and personal with animals. Duration 2 weeks ....would appreciate some recommendations about wildlife sanctuaries or organisations where the money is genuinely used for animal and wildlife conservation.
Feb 5, 2013 8:21 PM
1Some of the projects working with turtles take on volunteers and any money paid would be going directly to the organization. There are various places like this around the world. There are also some good elephant volunteer places in Asia (Thailand in particular, but Sri Lanka also has a couple).
Did you have any part of the world in mind?
Feb 6, 2013 2:07 AM
We want to get up close and personal with animals.
When you say "up close and personal" and with the title including "wildlife" think carefully about what you are trying to achieve. Wildlife in care is best eft without "close and personal". Many years ago it was different but we have since learnt better and the interests of wildlife are now put before the interests of people when they are in our care - and their wellbeing invariable means a "hands-off" approach.
If "close and personal" is what you are seeking then you are best looking are some of the domestic rehoming centres (rescue organisations) where the animals are domesticated.
But these days, "close and personal" with wildlife might be fun for human beings but far from helps the wild animals. Even in zoos, reputable organisations take a hands-off approach even by the keepers (and I have worked as a zoo keeper). Of course there are cases where keepers get close - but this in minimised and only in cases where it is in the interests of the animal (e.g. catching to allow a vet to treat). Even when a keeper gets close to their charge, it carries risks. Some organisation have a few animals who are permanent inmates who have been trained to tolerate human petting and are then used for PR purposes - which is fine but when you get "close and personal" to those animals it has nothing to do with making their lives better.
There is a reason the word "Wild" is part of "wildlife".
Feb 6, 2013 8:43 PM
3Another place is the gibbon rehabilitation centre in Phuket, Thailand. They take on volunteers as well.
Feb 13, 2013 1:07 AM
I went to the WFFT in Thailand last June and will go back next year. http://www.wfft.org/
The work you do there for the animals is really rewarding and there is great atmosphere because you work together with people form all over the world that share the same passion.
Another option is this place in North Sulawesi: http://www.tasikoki.org/
Feb 18, 2013 11:20 AM
5http://www.darwinfoundation.org/english Charles Darwin Foundation of the Galapagos Islands has volunteers. The can live in bunkhouses on their property, or there are cheap ($200/month) studio apartments/rooms with en suite bathroom and kitchenette in town. Fly on COPA Airlines from LAX or Miami -- cheaper, via Panama City to Quito, then transfer to local plane to Santa Cruz Island. You have various opportunities to work with tortoises or other animals.
Feb 18, 2013 11:30 PM
Most reputable organisations will not let you get too close to the animals. Generally you will be preparing the food, cleaning and building. Humans carry so many diseases that can harm the animals. For example in Borneo & Indonesia any Orangutan sanctuary will not let you touch the apes as we can harm them. Normally you would need to be there longer. We run a website called globalhelpswap (http://globalhelpswap.com/) that has free and low cost volunteering for travellers and we advice them on the above info.
Good luck and enjoy your trip!
Feb 19, 2013 4:57 AM
7Another opportunity for volunteer work is with the baby Giant Pandas near Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Again, you would be helping to clean up their habitat, but you would be able to see the babies. You would need to apply for a visa to visit China. You would fly into either Beijing or Hong Kong, then transfer to a domestic flight to Chengdu, then take a bus to the sanctuary. I think that they have dormitories for its volunteers.
Feb 27, 2013 8:04 AM
It really depends what part of the world you would like to go to, or what wildlife you want to volunteer with. I know there's a lot of places in central and south america that have volunteers working with monkeys, parrots and other amazonian animals. In asia you'll get to work with plenty of elephants and monkeys as well. This website lists wildlife volunteer opportunities in several different places if you're not sure where you would like to go yet.
Feb 27, 2013 9:19 PM
This link contains a full list of wildlife sanctuaries or organizations around the world.
Mar 8, 2013 7:27 PM
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