Volunteer vacations and working holidays have become increasingly popular in recent years especially with the rise of gap-years for the 18-25 demographic. But now more adults are taking up the opportunity to give a little back and take a break from the hum-drum of everyday working life.
Many people think of teaching English in Africa, building schools in South America or volunteering in hospitals in India but there are plenty of other volunteering opportunities available such as wildlife conservation holidays. A wildlife conservation holiday gives the volunteer the opportunity to see some of the world’s rarest wildlife while helping to support their conservation with local charities and projects.
So which projects could you be helping with? There are so many wildlife conservation projects currently underway so it depends on the company you choose to organise your trip and also where you feel comfortable going. For example, a very popular trip is in the Amazon rainforest in Peru. However many people may find that this is too hot for them and might prefer tracking snow leopards in the Altai Mountains. Endangered species include tigers, leopards, sea turtles, cheetahs and snow leopards –to name but a few. Obviously do not expect to be petting leopards or cuddling pandas on these trips as they are primarily scientific excursions supporting the futures of these species.
There are a range of tasks that you could be supporting from tracking animals to organising data or recording habits and routines. All of the information you gather and the help that you deliver goes a long way to helping the conservation of endangered species. There is no previous experience necessary to help with a wildlife conservation holiday. You don’t need to be a whizz in biology or super-fit to help out, there is a role for everybody.
Budding biologists and those with an interest in biodiversity will gain a huge amount from a wildlife conservation holiday. If you’re studying biology or a related subject at university, this experience can be used on your CV and also to support your studies.
On returning from your adventure you’ll have hundreds of tales to tell family, friends and colleagues plus memories that will last a lifetime. So why not consider giving something back this year with your holiday, while gaining a once in a lifetime experience.
Bio: Laura Jennings writes on behalf of Biosphere Expeditions, an international not-for-profit organisation running wildlife conservation holidays and projects around the world. For details of the expeditions organisation, visit the Biosphere Expeditions website at http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org
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