Monday, 7 December 2015

Learn More about Australia's Animal Welfare and Conservation Projects

You won’t find many opportunities to volunteer in animal welfare in Australia. Whether you are a traveller or a local who wishes to help animals, there isn’t many prospects to work close with the local wildlife. Here are some things you should consider and know about before taking the plunge into animal welfare and conservation projects and volunteer work in Australia:

·         Consider the difference between a not for profit organisation that is privately owned compared with one that is a government incentive or a company (zoo, for example). Decide what you want to support and locate a project that fits your criteria of what it means to help animals. Of course it should be something that you are passionate about so find out what activities the project demands and commit to a realistic time frame. Animal welfare and conservation initiatives are fuelled largely by the enthusiasm of volunteers, so get on board and try your hand at something you will never get the opportunity to do in a normal circumstance.

·         Obtain plenty of information about the organisation you want to work with. Read all aspects of the website and see if you can find any online reviews from past volunteers. An organisation’s Facebook page is a good place to look as it should give you a good idea of what the organisation is about and you may get a good insight on what the project is all about and what you will be doing. Learn about the key people who run the organisation and who you will be dealing with. You will soon know which organisation is reaching out to you and is a good fit.

·         Volunteer sending organisations should include a lot of information about each project on their website. There should be write-ups, testimonials, photos and videos, and when volunteering in a foreign place, it is important to know exactly where you are going. Most organisations will provide you with an information guide once you sign up which will give you all the information you need to know, so get started volunteering with Australian animals and make a difference to their beautiful creatures.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Learn about Animal Volunteer Programmes Abroad

To create a balance in nature, it is important that humans co-exist with animals in their natural surroundings. Sadly, rapid development of human civilisation and incessant hunting and poaching of animals have created a severe imbalance in the environment, and many species of flora and fauna are already extinct and several are endangered and nearing extinction.

There are numerous non-profit organisations around the world working towards preserving and conserving endangered species and their habitat, and many are simply on the frontline of caring for animals that have been injured or misplaced. Due to a lack of resources and no government funding available, organisations often find themselves unable to carry out their duties effectively, which is one of the main reasons why they look to recruit animal and conservation lovers from around the world to volunteer. People who participate in these programs gain unique and diverse experiences,and develop knowledge about the plight of animals and our planet. This knowledge can be used to help spread awareness so that people are more effective in their efforts towards global responsibility and sustainability.

If you are considering volunteering yourself, there are a few things that you must consider beforehand.

·         Choose the Country:You can find animal volunteer work in most, if not all countries across the globe, however not all places are safe to travel to.The past year has been a tumultuous one and any traveller must be weary of where they are thinking of going overseas. Make sure you check out the latest travel advice and stick to countries that are free of social and political unrest. If you are combining a holiday with volunteering work (as many people do), locate programs that are close to places you want to visit. 

·         Use a Volunteer Sending Organisation: Utilising a reliable volunteer sending organisation is the best way to ensure a safe, positive and memorable experience (for all the right reasons). Find a good match by looking at websites, reading reviews, talking to people (word of mouth), internet research and joining Facebook and other social media pages. But how do you tell which programs are worthwhile? Are the animals exploited in any way? Which programs are worth the fees? Which are sustainable and which are money making ventures for company owners that lead to harmful impacts on animals and local communities? Firstly, look into who owns the company. Is it a large, profit driven travel agency or is it a not for profit organisation? Create a shortlist of organisations you like, then get as much information from the website as you can. If you are not 100%, then email them with any questions you have.

·         Are you up for a challenge? Although you will have an idea of what your experience at the project will be, it will always be very different. Unless you are volunteering in your own country, you will be in unfamiliar surroundings and you may not have all your creature comforts. It is sometimes a challenge to make an adjustment, especially if you are travelling alone, and some adapt more than others, so don’t give up! The longer you put in the effort, the more you will get out of it.  Take any challenges and frustrations as part of the adventure.

Above all, stay committed, and once you get there, work with dedication. Working with animals will be one of the most amazing things you ever do!

Things You Need to Know About Australian Conservation and Animal Welfare Volunteers

Volunteerism is very much alive in Australia and people from across the country and the world are finding Australia the perfect place to get immersed in animal welfare. Volunteer travel, otherwise known as volunteerism is a popular concept among travellers to this side of the world, combining their vacation or holiday trip abroad with some volunteer opportunities that open them up to local conservation and volunteer projects, and a whole lot of life-changing experiences.

The opportunities for conservation and animal welfare volunteer travel are few and far between in Australia. Opportunities to care for wildlife are only found through select organisations who have built relationships with animal welfare organisations and/or wildlife carers over time and have structured local and international volunteer programs to suit. If are wanting to volunteer with animals, you will need to find such an organisation.

Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and, as such, threats to its natural beauty and resources are inevitable. The country is one of the most environmentally diverse places in the world and boasts sprawling desserts, coral reefs, sparkling coastlines, snow-capped mountains and vibrant cities. However, the influx of tourists wishing to admire these attractions is taking its toll on the natural environment. For example, tourists removing coral from the Great Barrier Reef. Also, because of climate change, pollution, urban development and agriculture, much of its beauty diminishes year after year. Fortunately, attempts to curb the trend are visible through various conservation projects and volunteering opportunities that various government and not-government organisations pursue and implement, and efforts to conserve Australia’s natural diversity are plenty. Due to the multitude of passionate individuals who dedicate their time to care for this land and its inhabitants, great and unique opportunities have become available. As a volunteer with one of these organisations, you can follow your passion or your curiosity and contribute to conserving some of the most precious natural resources in the world, and it’s animals in need.  

There is only a short list of conservation and animal welfare organisations that you can become affiliated with in Australia if you wish to pursue volunteerism in this country, and only one Australian-owned organisation that is dedicated to animal projects only. They offer the opportunity to travel to various parts of the country including the coast, the forest, the reef and the outback, and places you may not have seen before caring for animals and the environment. Conservation and animal welfare groups tackle the ramifications of climate change, pollution, displacement and human/wildlife conflict, all of which are integrated into the larger scheme of things that encompasses complex environmental and conservation issues. Volunteers can do their part, no matter how small, and can become involved in caring for hurt and displaced animals or in a variety of conservation different activities such as planting trees, rebuilding wildlife habitats and restoring forests (weed control, invasive species control, etc.

Volunteer projects start from a week’s contribution to a matter of months depending on how much time you’ve got to spend.  

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Animal Volunteering – A Great Opportunity to Show Your Love towards Animals

Animal volunteering is one way that you can show how much you love and care for animals and make a difference in your community. You don’t have to go far, as some of the best places to volunteer may be right on your doorstep. Australia is home to various non-profit organisations that need volunteers. And if you do not live in Australia, there are animal volunteering projects in many other countries that provide the opportunity to travel and volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering overseas, look for international animal volunteer sending organisations that accept foreigners.

Animal volunteering gives people the opportunity to enjoy a travelling experience while learning about the native wildlife of that country and the challenges they face. The right not for profit organisation can help you choose the right project for you, and an ethically minded one will ensure that your volunteering experience only impacts the animals in a positive way. It is one thing to have a memorable and purpose-filled trip, it is another to ensure that the animals you have worked with are in need of help and that the help they are receiving is in their best interests. Not for profit animal welfare organisations believe that providing people with opportunities to interact and contribute can help animals who have ended up at the forefront of the human-animal conflict, and the right volunteer recruitment organisation can help facilitate this. This way, volunteers are able to develop their own sense of responsibility and a personal culture of global conservation while actually contributing in the right way.

Joining an ethical animal volunteering project can expose you to real and challenging environmental issues. In addition, the experience can render a positive impact in your life and encourage you to continue supporting the cause, even when you have returned home. By volunteering, you can be part of the solution to the problem. You will be part of a network of like-minded people who are working to make the world more humane and safer for animals.

Animal volunteering can be a good way to get to know and find yourself too. You may discover certain skills and qualities you never knew you had, and you may be introduced to certain tasks you would never get to do anywhere else. Sometimes you just have to be tough when you are volunteering with animals, as it is not all rosy, but you will have done something to be proud of that will stay with you forever.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Tips to Find Animal Volunteering Opportunities in Australia

Animal lovers are often looking for ways to take an active part in wildlife conservation efforts, however their attempts to locate a place where they can have a meaningful impact can often end at the doors of dubious ‘voluntourism’ organisations. Unfortunately, some organisations are companies that rely on profits rather than preservation, and others, although well-meaning can unknowingly do more harm than good. If you would like to go beyond a photo opportunity, you will need to dig deep and do your research.

Here are some pointers to help you get started:

Find out about the roster. Volunteer work can be arduous and require long hours working in less than ideal conditions (heat, cold, etc). Other projects only work a few hours a week. Do not commit more time and energy than you can afford or you may be left with your expectations not being met.

Bring a partner or friend. Animal volunteer work is rewarding and challenging. If you have a friend to share the experience with, it is less difficult when you arrive home as you have someone local you can share your laughs, memories and experiences with, good and bad.

Find out the physical requirements. Find out how physically demanding the volunteer work is. Chopping corn for elephants on a 40 degree day is not easy! You may prefer feeding squid to turtles and scratching their backs instead. Choose an animal volunteering program according to what energy output you are seeking and ensure that you can manage the work if you have a medical condition. Many projects offer programs for mature age and people with special needs. Speak to the project coordinator and get a good feel for whether it is for you. Ask them what project would suit. Choose your project according to your abilities and your limitations.

Find out if the work requires any special training or certification. Most organisations will provide you with all the necessary training, tools and materials. However, some special projects, internships and projects (vet work) may need additional qualifications or even a University degree.

Find out about the animals on the project. You will get the most out of your placement if you know about the types of animals you will be working with and how close you will be getting to them. There may be projects that you discard because of the local, wild animal population. For example, if you are hesitant about snakes and spiders, then don’t volunteer in the Amazon!

Find out about the health risks involved with animal volunteering and the vaccinations that are required for your placement. Contact with diseased wildlife can be risky if you are not properly protected. A good volunteer organisation will ensure you are up to date with all your vaccinations.

Find out if the organisation has a support system in place for medical emergencies. How does the organisation handle volunteer injuries or accidents? How far away is the nearest hospital?