It sounds ideal: going on an overseas trip and doing your bit to help local wild animals. Here are our tips to ensure your volunteering is actually helping not harming wildlife.
Unfortunately, it is not always as rosy as it seems. We regularly hear stories that the proceeds go directly into the owner's pocket, instead of going to the care of the animals. Of course, you don't do it for that! That is why we have collected a number of tips that will help you find a nice volunteer place for animals.
Avoid direct interactions with wild animals
Can visitors cuddle, walk or have their picture taken with the animals at your chosen volunteer spot? Then it's probably wrong. When you take care of wild animals, you want them to be able to be as wild as possible and show their natural behavior. They are not pets and wild animals should be entertaining tourists.
Check where your volunteer contribution goes
Sometimes you have to contribute as a volunteer to the place where you work. Check carefully where this money is going. Is it invested in financing the site or project, such as caring for animals? Or is that not clear? Ask the organisation and if you don't get a clear answer, choose another place.
Choose an organisation with a long-term planning
A good volunteer spot knows what they want to achieve for the animals in the long run. Will the animals be rehabilitated and released back into the wild? Have they thought about the welfare of the animals and have turned that into a plan that they are happy to share with the outside world. If there no plans and do you have the idea that it is mainly about generating income? You guessed it: don’t go.
Before you book
Sometimes a volunteer place seems like a nice location, or market themselves as a "sanctuary" but there is animal suffering behind it. Always check whether they really want the best for the wild animals by checking out their website, read their previous review and Instagram page (including the part where you can see the tags), reading online reviews and browsing their website.
Together we can change the way the world works to end the suffering of captive wild animals. Forever.