This information is brought to you by my good friend, Sam Iverson. Sam has volunteered all over Africa and is passionate about wildlife conservation. She’s rated several conservation volunteer groups. Here’s what she has to say:
Are you looking to do wildlife volunteering in Africa? This page is dedicated to reviewing different wildlife volunteer projects so that you can choose one that makes a true impact in conservation. My reviews are based on true wildlife conservation principles. Because of the many volunteer opportunities, it’s not always easy to know which organizations truly help the animals.
First let’s define wildlife conservation. It is the practice of protecting endangered plant and animal species in their natural habitat. So wildlife conservation isn’t possible without also conserving habitat, the ecosystem, that wildlife inhabits. The main point is this: if an organization is using animals to make money, it is not for conservation but for greed. There is a difference between making money to keep a project going and making money to fill pockets.
There are so many organizations out there that throw around the word “education” or “conservation” to make a sales pitch. When you dig deeper, these organizations are not really out to help the animals or the wild places. They use the animals and these words to sell the idea of conservation education to animal lovers around the world. Worse is that it’s working. People with the best intentions are financially supporting organizations that are using these wild animals, which in most cases live under deplorable conditions.
There are two different types of wildlife volunteer options. First are the rehabilitation organizations and sanctuaries whose purpose is to either provide care for these wild animals to eventually release back into the wild, or to provide forever care when the animals cannot be released back into the wild for whatever reason. Second are the wildlife research projects whose purpose is to do wildlife counts (e.g., game counts or predator counts) to track wild animals that were released back into the wild, set up camera traps, and mitigate human–wildlife conflicts.
I have a lifelong passion for wildlife and conservation, particularly big cats. I had wanted to be a zoologist and wildlife biologist since I was 8 years old. Although I never achieved this dream as an adult, I spend as much free time as I can doing conservation projects in Africa. What I learned over the past 10+ years of conservation volunteering is that there are many organizations that simply aren’t helping animals and are taking hard earned money and time from nature and animal lovers, the latter who have the best of intentions but don’t know their money is not truly going to help the animals.
My hope is that this information will help you find conservation volunteer projects that truly help conserve the wild places in this world and the animals that inhabit them so that both your time and money have the greatest impact.
See Reviews of Conservation Volunteering for conservation volunteer organizations. Also, I’ll be interviewing Sam about her experience for my blog.