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Advice on wildlife volunteer programs

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Sep 27th, 2009, 04:08 AM
  #1
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Advice on wildlife volunteer programs

Hi all. I am just starting to investigate the idea of spending six weeks volunteering with wildlife - but not until 2011. Wondering which countries offer better programs and best time of year. I am keen to have hands-on experiences in rehabilitation, breeding, feeding, caring for injured, etc. I would love to hear any comments from those of you who have shared a similar experience and from anyone looking into the same programs. Doing lots of online research but they all sound good! Need help filtering them. Cheers.
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Sep 27th, 2009, 05:16 AM
  #2
 
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masok,

i think you forgot to mention what programs have you found?

it would be great information if you found a program that did not charge money. most every volunteer program i know is requires payment (usually around USD 100) per day.

craig beal
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Sep 27th, 2009, 05:49 AM
  #3
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hi craig

so far i have found: african impact-lion conservation, veterinary clinic
volunteer abroad-working with lions and elephants
global crossroads-born to be wild lion project
working abroad-namibia noahs ark project

a few others have surfaced but these i have bookmarked.

i am expecting to pay for the experience - that's one of the reasons i won't be heading off until 2011!

bye
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Sep 27th, 2009, 06:42 AM
  #4
 
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hi masok,

i have not done any of these programs myself. since you are willing to pay, you are in a different category! most people are looking to volunteer for free.

also consider global volunteers. i am not sure what they have in namibia.

the only program i have ever used for a client in namibia was a cheetah related project.

craig
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Sep 27th, 2009, 06:45 AM
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I can mention one--Ngamba, a Jane Goodall Chimp Sanctuary in Lake Victoria off of Entebbe Uganda.

Here is a link to more of a description I did.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-sanctuary.cfm
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Sep 27th, 2009, 06:54 AM
  #6
 
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The contact info I have in the above link has changed.

Here is the new contact info.



http://www.ngambaisland.org/

24 Lugard Avenue
Entebbe
Uganda
256
Uganda

[email protected]

+256 41 4320662
+256 414 321 737
+256 77 222 1537
http://www.ngambaisland.org

I did pay for the privilege of volunteering, also.

One thing you could request to keep the cost down is ask to stay in staff quarters. I was one of the last to stay in these quarters because Ngamba was going to start housing the volunteers in the very lovely visitor tents and have them dine on the excellent cuisine provided to visitors.

Here is something I wrote previously on Fodors on the volunteer accommodations:

"atravelynn on Jun 11, 08 at 02:19 PM
I don't know if this is still an option, but it saved me bundles when I volunteered there. I stayed in the staff quarters and ate with the staff.

The room was very basic cinderblock, even dingy and similar to the back room of an unfinished basement. The very nice community toilet & shower (bring your own towel) was a good walk away at night. This room was right next to where the chimps slept which I liked but you could smell them and they served as an alarm clock. But it oh-so-extremely affordable. The food was fine and I supplemented with some fruits and veggies I bought in Entebbe.

If I ever return, I will inquire to see if I can do this again.

The tented camps I saw for guests overlooked Lake Victoria and were lovely, just far enough away from the where the chimps slept to have no odors, but only a short walk from the action."

As others have mentioned, the chimp walks were a highlight of Africa and of all my travels. Heck, a highlight of my life. I mean it.
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Sep 27th, 2009, 07:22 AM
  #7
 
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The africaguide.com has a list of some volunteer opportunities. You may wish to look at: http://africaguide.com/conser.htm

Good luck, Steve
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Sep 28th, 2009, 05:25 AM
  #8
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Thanks guys, that gives me something to look at. Will stay in touch. Appreciate the advice about staff quarters - makes sense. K
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Sep 28th, 2009, 05:49 AM
  #9
 
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Hey all,

Don't forget Dr. Laurie Marker's program in Namibia:

http://www.cheetah.org

Ciao,

J.
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Sep 28th, 2009, 06:49 AM
  #10
 
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hi masok,

although i have not personally volunteered, i was doing research on volunteering abroad for clients of mine and came across a few that may be of interest to you. what i liked about them is that i was able to communicate directly with the people that ran the projects which gave me a lot of confidence in what they do. helps to put a voice behind the website.

- Enkosini Eco Experience (www.enkosiniecoexperience.com). i have been in touch with Kelcey (one of the founders) and she is incredibly responsive, passionate and open to sharing information about their projects.

- Wilderness Safaris is the kind of company that gets involved in every way - from community to conservation. they are accepting volunteers for a project located in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

- Elephant Whispers Volunteer Program (EWVP) (in association with Elephant Whispers, Seasons in Africa and Elephants For Africa Forever) might be another project of interest for you to consider. located in hazyview, south africa.

hope this helps!

pam
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Sep 28th, 2009, 08:57 PM
  #11
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Thanks Pam. I have seen Enkosini but the other two I will look into. I have heard back from Global Crossroads about their Born To Be Wild Lion program via email and wondered if you have had any dealings with them. I'm a bit wary about organising with a company in a different country - I'm in Australia and they are in USA.
Cheers, Kaye
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Sep 29th, 2009, 02:26 AM
  #12
 
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I think you should read this before signing up for one of these "lion breeding" projects:
http://www.africageographic.com/news...canned-hunting

I find the idea that you can raise lion cubs being cuddled by volunteers and tourists and then release them into the wild highly questionable, just on the basis of common sense.
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Sep 29th, 2009, 02:51 AM
  #13
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Thanks stokeygirl. I read the article and it has planted a seed that will make sure I investigate the programs extensively. Perhaps i should look further into the veterinary support programs instead.
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Sep 29th, 2009, 03:44 AM
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Paul Hart's lion rescue is far beyond any questionable doing. He has dedicated his life towards the rescue of lions which come from circus etc:
http://www.lionrescue.org.za/

Paul Hart works also closely with:
http://www.cannedlion.org/

Don't mix the above up with the following highly questionable organisation which does lion walks - lions from these walks are hunted down when they grow out of the age for lion-human-interaction. They straight go into a trophy hunting (canned hunting!) facility:
http://www.lionrescue.org/

One more exceptionally good organisation:
http://www.cheetahbotswana.com/

Good luck - and yes you cannot spend enough time for research in order to make sure you don't support any trophy hunting related organisation.

If you are also looking towards Namibia make sure you dedicate your time and money only towards decent organisations like Cheetah Conservation Fund and don't end up financing/supporting "business like" organisations which just opened a kind of pet zoo under the label "rescue and re-introduction in to the wilds".

Many highly questionable businesses have discovered that volunteering means big business which can be exploited for pretty selfish reasons.

Think twice when looking at the following following one:
http://www.harnas.com/en/index.php
This "foundation" is rather a business. Work is done by volunteers who pay for the privilleg to stay and work there.
Harnas obviously found out that the current location close to Gobabis is too far for the average tourist to visit and stay there. Therefore they are building a new venue close to Windhoek airport.

SV
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Sep 29th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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I had a great experience as a volunteer on the brown hyena project (Project Phiri) at Mankwe Reserve in northern South Africa last month. My husband and I participated in this project through Earthwatch, which can connect you with well-organized research projects throughout the world. You do have to pay to participate, but we felt it was worth it and for a good cause. (I haven't had a chance to write a trip report yet, but I will eventually post that on the board for anyone who's interested.)

I should point out that our particular project consisted primarily of data-gathering tasks using various survey methods (night call-ins, spotlighting surveys from a vehicle at night, transects on foot, latrine surveys, den searches, etc.), rather than working "hands-on" with any animals. We did see a LOT of wildlife, however, including our study animal. Some other Earthwatch projects (including the meerkat study and Laurie Marker's cheetah program) have more contact with the animals. I agree that you should investigate very carefully any organization that brings in volunteers to handle animals in a "rehab" situation. As much fun as that might be for the volunteers, it's not always the best thing for the animals.
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Sep 29th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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I would like to add:
Have a look at the "balance sheet" where the profit goes or rather look for a non-profit organisation.


SV
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Sep 29th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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So that's what you were up to MyDogKyle.

What a good volunteer thread for Masok and anyone else.
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Sep 30th, 2009, 04:25 AM
  #18
 
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I've been looking into volunteering myself and I have no doubt there are some legitimate "hands on" projects around but it seemed to me such a minefield distinguishing which was which that I just decided to steer clear of them altogether. I'm much more interested in doing something more like MyDogKyle describes, and the one I found that I'm planning on doing for 8 weeks next year is at Tembe Elephant Park (http://www.tembe.org.za/Volunteers/volunteers.html).
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Dec 16th, 2009, 01:23 AM
  #19
 
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Spasvogel mentions Harnas of Gobabis , Namibia.Also known as Noah's Ark.
And then says they are building a new one near Windhoek, which is Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary..
The Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary was started by the daughter of the operator of Harnas.And is now completely separated from Harnas over a difference in operating philosophy.Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary , now known as N/a'an Kuse',or San for God is Watching Over Us,is concentrating it's efforts at rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild.
But those wild animals that cannot be released, because of injury or human habituation, are retained and given large enclosures to live out their lives.
Funding such an operation costs plenty.So many initiatives are underway to ensure income.Volunteers are a part of that, and they are valuable participants in not just caring for animals, but in medical welfare,and schooling of disadvantaged San Bushman families.If you're a Facebook member check all this out here-
http://www.facebook.com/#/naankuse?ref=nf

I have been on 2 separate volunteer projects in Namibia for which I paid.Each time, what I paid was less than if I was touring the country.But being immersed in these projects, interacting with many local people,working with animals up close,building rock walls for villagers' wells, and chatting around a campfire at night,I can say I learnt more about the country, it's people, it's wildlife , than as a tourist.
If you want to know more , just ask me.
Check out these links.Incidentally, both organisations are marketed by Enkosiniecoexperience.Or you can book direct with both organisations.
http://www.ecotourism-namibia.com/vo...ain_intro.html
http://www.desertelephant.org/

BTW.Both Naan Kuse and EHRA have many vids on YouTube.Check them out there also.
Go to it.You'll have a wonderful time.
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Dec 16th, 2009, 03:11 AM
  #20
 
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Mashatu in Botswana has volunteer programs too.
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