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!

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