We are sure you have heard countless horror stories of relentless poaching, trophy hunting and mass habitat destruction, all of which pose a critical threat to some of Africa's most iconic wildlife resident in Namibia. But did you know you can play an active role in the protection of these species? Wildlife volunteering projects offer people the opportunity to be a part of the rescue, care and rehabilitation of orphaned and displaced animals, along with helping to give them a chance of a life back out in the wild!
Taking part in a volunteer project in the fascinating country of Namibia is sure to be an experience like no other. Volunteering with animals has become increasingly popular in recent times, with thousands of budding conservationists flocking to lend a helping hand year after year. Read on to find out just what you could gain by volunteering with animals in Namibia.
Namibia is home to a third of the world's entire cheetah population, but sadly, many of these felines (as well as other species such as leopards, baboons and more) wind up in need of sanctuary care for reasons ranging from the illegal pet trade to conflict with farmers and their livestock.
In many cases, cheetahs that are rescued by various charities and organisations are unable to be released back into the wild due to having suffered much trauma, injuries, or because they have become too humanised to be able to survive independently in their natural habitat. Therefore, sanctuaries or animal welfare organisations often provide forever homes for these big cats and your role as a volunteer could involve helping to provide them with a happy life within the refuge of a sanctuary. There are many aspects involved in caring for captive cheetahs, and you could be involved with activities such as witnessing the true agility of the fastest land animal in the world while they chase after bait for exercise, help to personally provide lean meat for them to enjoy, or help to make sure they are as happy and as comfortable as possible in their sanctuary homes just to name a few.
There is nothing more rewarding than knowing an animal is safe, happy and fed, when you consider that they would not survive alone in the wild - even more so knowing that you played a direct role in the process!
It isn't just cheetahs that are in need of help. Many African species of all shapes and sizes, from adorable little meerkats to the huge majestic lion depend on the care of charities and animal welfare organisations for survival - whether it be from within a sanctuary or out in the wild. You could be helping to rehabilitate animals and release them back out into the wild where they truly belong, helping to care for orphaned baby animals such as baboons who lost their mothers to the bullet, or even assisting with treating sick or injured animals out on a reserve right in the midst of their natural habitat.
As well as helping to provide a sustainable future for Africa’s biodiversity, many organisations also give back to the local community. As a volunteer, you may have the opportunity to immerse yourself in community projects such as teaching children English as well as vital lessons about the importance of wildlife conservation. After all, the children of today are the future generation of caregivers for the environment, and in Namibia, you could directly contribute to ensuring that when the time comes, they know how to do this in the most sustainable way.
Namibia plays host to a truly fascinating and colourful culture. The country offers the opportunity to explore vast landscapes such as the seemingly limitless red ‘Sand Sea’ and to witness the drawings of ancient tribes’ people painted across the walls of caves which give a unique and personal insight into their archaic history and traditions.
As well as learning about ancient tribes, you could even spend time with the sans tribe who reside out in the Namibian bush today. These intriguing people truly know the bush better than anyone else, and if you're lucky, you could watch them track animals with - literally - their bare hands!
Perhaps one of the most enlightening and humbling moments on a volunteer experience is when you look around at your fellow volunteers and digest just how special it is that you have all come from different corners of the world to unite for the same purpose. You soon learn that humans are largely to blame for the endangerment of many species here, but also that humans are the only ones who can change it and you are all there to do just that, together.
There is a strong sense of unity and solidarity between a group of volunteers and you are sure to form a unique and lifelong bond with the people with whom you will share such a life-changing experience.
Whether you travel solo, with a partner or in a group, you will return from your volunteer experience with a new appreciation and understanding of the world. The contrast between the West and the boundless landscapes of Namibia is sure to open your mind to a world that is full of adventures waiting to be fulfilled.
You will expand your knowledge of geography, animal biology, ecology and so much more - not to mention the sheer amount of animal and conservation knowledge you will pick up along the way; such as that a cheetah makes a kill by means of suffocation, and a leopard makes a kill by biting directly into the head of its prey!
Volunteer projects in Namibia are nothing but beneficial to the wildlife they work tirelessly to protect, the surrounding local communities, and the generous volunteers who dedicate their time and money to get involved. So why not join a holiday with a difference for your next trip abroad and volunteer with animals in Namibia?
If you would like to learn more, please visit: www.thegreatprojects.com/volunteer-in-namibia.
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