Top 5 Alternative Wildlife Volunteer Career Breaks

Top 5 Alternative Wildlife Volunteer Career Breaks

Posted by Sam Hopkins on 10th Apr 2015

Have you ever thought to yourself that it's all got a bit much at work and you're wanting some time out to get away from it all? If so, then a wildlife volunteer career break may be exactly the thing that you are looking for.

Career breaks are no longer the sole preserve of university graduates looking to broaden their horizons on gap years before plunging themselves into the world of work. In fact, about 90,000 people every year – 60 per cent of them women – take some sort of career break or sabbatical. Typically, these individuals are in their late twenties or early thirties, although an increasing number are in their forties and fifties.

"The number one reason is simply to do something different," says Rachel Morgan-Trimmer of the Career Break Site. "Whether a career-breaker chooses to travel, learn something new, work or volunteer, it is a desire for a change and to see the world and be a part of something incredible"…

Of course, this being The Great Projects, we think that observing wildlife and supporting vital conservation work plays a pretty big part in this career break move. Below we discuss the five top 'alternative' career breaks. Be warned – the intrepid destinations discussed here may just make you want to pack your bags and leave!

Assist in Marine Conservation in the stunning Raja Ampat archipelago -

'Off the map' travel at its finest, this stunning tropical paradise located within the East Indonesia/West Papua region of the coral triangle has the highest known concentration and diversity of marine life anywhere on earth. With the marine environments surrounding it containing 80% of all the world's coral species (10 times the number of species found in the entire Caribbean!), 1350 species of fish, 6 of the world's 7 marine turtle species and 27 varieties of marine mammal; the biodiversity present here is truly unparalleled. Residing on an untouched piece of beach paradise, your role as a marine conservation volunteer here will be working to protect the coral reefs of Raja Ampat, the incredible species residing within them and the local communities that rely upon them in order to sustain themselves. This truly is a project that makes a real difference – all within a province barely chartered by the outsider!

Witness the magnificent Bengal tiger in the wilds of India -

As one of the world's most iconic yet sadly endangered carnivores, the thrill of seeing a tiger in the wild is completely unprecedented. Travel to the cultural melting pot of the Indian subcontinent and join our new 'Tiger Trails in India Tour' (soon to be launched). Here, not only will you get to visit the incredible national parks of Kanha (where Kipling conceptualised 'The Jungle Book') and Satpura, but you will also be able to engage in a wide variety of volunteering activities as part of the project - including involving yourself with local communities, learning more about the plight of the tiger and what you can do to help counteract it, as well as supporting integral initiatives of wildlife conservation. This really is a unique experience that you won't forget in a hurry – perfect for that career break.

Learn a new language whilst helping with wildlife conservation -

As all of us travellers know: the act of travelling isn't just sight-seeing. It's being transported to a place where the cultural and social norms, as well as language, may be completely different from yours. A conscientious traveller will try to immerse him or herself in these differences, taking part in those surroundings while at the same time respecting cultural boundaries. Interacting with people from different corners of the world will undoubtedly make you a better listener, more compassionate, more willing to understand others, and better at communicating! Being able to pick up another language doesn't only mean you that are able to communicate more easily with a country's local residents, it may also mean that you learn faster, listen better, and connect more easily with others. What's more, the best way to acquire a second language is not here in a classroom, but out there in the world, socializing with native speakers. If you're wanting to develop your Spanish skills, why not travel to our 'Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary' project? Here not only will you be able to develop your Spanish skills, but you will also be able to help out with vital wildlife conservation initiatives. What more could you want for that career break?

Get lost in the wilds of Kainuu, Finland –

This is really one for those that just want to escape and get lost in the remote wilderness of Northern Europe! Our 'Nordic Wilderness Adventure' aims to give volunteers an introduction to the environment and extensive array of wildlife resident in one of Europe's last remnants of wilderness. You will be staying deep within the heart of Kaniuu, a region of Finland that is on the border of Russia, beautifully framed by the surrounding hills, forests, mires, lakes and rivers. This location has enabled the area to become the home to pure, wild habitat such as wild forest reindeer, moose, and in particular, large carnivores (including bears, wolves and wolverines) which are either very rare or extinct elsewhere in Europe. Aside from wildlife viewing and tracking, you will also be able to get involved with all manner of traditional activities and on-going conservation work: including a husky-led trek into deep into the forest and helping to build wildlife hide. This is definitely for the adventurous amongst you!

Make a real difference to orangutans and sun bears in Kalimantan, Indonesia –

Renowned for its incredible rainforests and unequalled, natural diversity, Indonesian Borneo is an enchanting and verdant travel destination. Due to its amazing collection of native species, Borneo is also at the forefront of the responsible travel and international volunteering revolution. The lush, green vistas and fascinating tribal cultures of this island – both the Indonesian and the Malaysian side - make it one of the most interesting and visually stunning places to visit in the world. Kalimantan – Indonesia's portion of Borneo – makes up 73% of the island's landmass. The least well known and visited of Indonesia's provinces, Kalimantan has much to offer the intrepid traveller. With stunning mountain ranges, forests and mighty rivers stretching across the interior – Kalimantan is perfect for those looking for adventure and then some. Combine a tour exploring this fantastic destination with integral orangutan and sun bear conservation work in Samboja Lestari, and this could be one of the most memorable career breaks you could have.


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