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Responsible volunteering with animals abroad

Article by GVI


Posted: December 16, 2022

As more and more young people look to make a difference in the world through volunteering, many are drawn to the idea of volunteering with animals abroad. After all, what could be more rewarding than spending time with adorable creatures in exotic locations?

But there’s a problem with only wanting to experience adorable animals or ‘exotic’ locations. For the most part, it implies that the only reason to volunteer with animals abroad is for personal enjoyment. 

In reality, volunteering with animals abroad should be about making a positive impact on the animals and the local community. It’s important to approach animal volunteering with empathy and a willingness to learn and help.

Why is volunteering with animals abroad needed right now?

Volunteering with animals abroad is needed for a number of reasons. 

First and foremost, many animals around the world are facing challenges due to habitat loss, poaching, and other threats. By volunteering with animals, individuals can help provide critical care and support to these animals, helping to protect and conserve their populations.

In addition, volunteering with animals abroad can also help to educate local communities about the importance of animal conservation and responsible pet ownership. This can lead to long-term benefits for both animals and humans, as communities become more aware of the value of preserving local wildlife and the need to care for animals in a humane and responsible manner.

Finally, volunteering with animals abroad can also provide valuable hands-on experience for individuals interested in pursuing careers in animal conservation, veterinary medicine, or related fields. By working with animals in their natural habitats, volunteers can gain a unique understanding of the challenges and rewards of this type of work.

What to expect when you’re volunteering with animals abroad

Before you book that flight and pack your bags, it’s important to understand that volunteering with animals abroad is not always as straightforward as it may seem. In fact, if done improperly, it can actually do more harm than good.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to responsible volunteering with animals abroad.

Before you sign up, do your homework

Research the organisation online and see if they have a good reputation. Some may have admirable goals and good intentions, but lack the experience or resources to properly care for the animals they work with. Others may be more interested in making a profit than in helping the animals. Look for reviews from past volunteers and see what they have to say. And don’t be afraid to ask questions – a responsible organisation should be happy to answer them.

Understand the animals’ needs

Every animal is different, and each has its own unique needs. Before you start volunteering, it’s important to understand the specific needs of the animals you’ll be working with. This includes things like their diet, exercise requirements and any medical care they may need.  A credible volunteering organisation will be conducting research or supporting local research projects actively, and you will receive the appropriate education when volunteering abroad with animals through them.

If you’re unsure about any of this, don’t be afraid to ask the organisation for more information.

Be prepared for hard work

Volunteering with animals abroad is an incredible experience. You’ll get to travel to some of the most beautiful and vulnerable habitats, and contribute to the future of precious species. But it’s not always fun and games. It can be hard work, and you should be ready to get dirty!

Be respectful of the local culture

When volunteering with animals abroad, you’re not just visiting a new place and working with animals – you’re a guest of the community. And with that comes a certain level of responsibility to respect the local culture and traditions.

This is especially important when it comes to volunteering with animals. In some places, animals may be treated differently than you’re used to, and it’s important to respect that. Don’t try to impose your own cultural beliefs on the animals or the people you’re working with.

Have fun and make a difference!

At the end of the day, the most important thing about volunteering with animals abroad is that you have a positive impact on the animals and the people you’re working with. So don’t be afraid to get involved, have fun, and make a difference.

With a little bit of planning and preparation, volunteering with animals abroad can be a rewarding and life-changing experience. If you’re looking to make a difference in the world, consider volunteering with animals abroad – just make sure you do it responsibly.

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