If you´re a wildlife lover like me, you’re probably concerned with the treatment of wild animals. The destructive practices of mankind has left a number of animals endangered as their homes are destroyed or their food is hunted for human consumption. Some animals are in despair and attempting any means for survival, including putting themselves in danger by leaving their natural environment and crossing into territories uninhabitable for their species. Thankfully, people from all over the world are coming together to help reverse the damages done. If you’re interested in joining the movement, check out these three volunteer projects for wildlife lovers.
Sea Turtle Conservation
Six of seven sea turtles have been confirmed endangered. This is due to poaching, destruction of natural habitats, and commercial fishing. All species contribute to a naturally functioning ecosystem. For example, the presence of sea turtles allow dune vegetations to grow on the beach as sea turtles nest on the sand, thereby bringing nutrients the beach would otherwise not be exposed to. As dune vegetation continues to grow stronger and healthier, the health of the entire beach and dune system improves. Without sea turtles, the dunes will be destroyed; without dunes, erosion would increase. If erosion increases, the destruction of the coasts are inevitable.
Join a Sea Turtle Conservation Program to help reverse the endangered status of the sea turtles, while directly contributing to the health of an entire ecosystem! As a conservation volunteer, you will work alongside biologists and researchers. You might participate in nightly beach patrols to protect nests and hatcheries, record data to account for eggs and turtles, and beach clean up efforts. Depending on the time you volunteer, you may help with the release of baby turtles into the ocean. This is a hands-on project perfect for those who love animals, and the beach life.
Cusco University Zoo
The zoo project specializes in the rehabilitation of animals that were confiscated from illegal owners who stole them from the wild. The zoo cares for and nurtures the animals, hoping to be able to release them back into the wild if they recover well enough. Though considered a zoo, the center takes care not to exploit animals, which ends up resulting in a low visitor rate, and therefore a lack of funding. However, the priority is to care for the animals, and shelter them in the best way possible.
Volunteers focus on the treatment and care of animals. Working alongside professionals, you can expect to be engaged in animal feeding, cage cleaning, light construction, and some conservation work. If you’re passionate about animal rights, and want hands on experience with the rehabilitation of rescued animals, volunteer at the Cusco University Zoo.
Exotic Animal Rescue
Another of the volunteer projects for wildlife lovers is our Exotic Animal Rescue. It focuses on rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts. Some species are in danger of being taken from the wild, and kept as domestic pets. They are then trained to perform various unnatural activities to turn a profit for the criminal who illegally took them. Those who are caught have the animals sent to the rescue center to rehabilitate, and familiarize them with their natural state. In addition, the center takes in injured and sick reptiles which are treated. All are released upon successful rehabilitation.
If you are interested in getting first hand experience caring for exotic animals, specifically reptiles, the Exotic Animal Project is your gateway to wildlife. Volunteers work alongside veterinarians and other support professionals to properly care for the animals. You support the center with general maintenance, feeding, cage cleaning, and other activities.
“Top 3 Volunteer Projects for Wildlife Lovers” was produced in partnership with Maximo Nivel.