Meet the founder of the Sloth Conservation and Wildlife Experience, Jennifer tells all about the humble beginnings of the sanctuary that started with two young girls dream to save the rainforest!
Over the past few years, the Americas have experienced a boom in tourism and an increase in those wanting to volunteer in the Americas. The allure of the Amazon rainforest, the mystery of Canada’s arctic tundra, and otherworldly deserts dotted across vast plains make for an enticing adventure for any travel enthusiast, and with so much to be seen, it’s no surprise that these countries consistently make the ‘top travel lists’ each year.
The Americas were first explored by Leif Erikson, with Columbus following thereafter, and this air of discovery still beckons. Christ the Redeemer welcomes visitors to Brazil with open arms; the jagged horizons of the Andes are a photographer’s dream; and ongoing traditions such as Dia de Los Muertos call back to an Aztec past. No matter where you go, you’ll be left breathless by this dynamic wonderland.
While the Americas are famed for their marvellous landscapes, they're also home to a range of vibrant flora and fauna. From Peru’s minuscule mouse opossum all the way up to Mexico's mammoth whale sharks, the Americas are peppered with awe-inspiring animals - but while the species found here are impressively abundant, their individual populations are often threatened.
Deforestation has haunted South America for decades, with the Amazon rainforest depleting by more than 6000 sq. km annually. Elsewhere, a fraught political landscape has made wildlife a low priority in Brazil and the United States; while Bolivia struggles to provide ongoing care to rehabilitated animals, making it illegal for certain species to be re-released. Even in Costa Rica, where environmental protection is paramount, pressures such as climate change and the illegal pet trade make it hard for organisations to protect their animals. Time spent volunteering in the Americas will allow you not only to make a meaningful contribution to conservation efforts, but will open your eyes to a world of culture unmatched anywhere else – so why not reach out to see how you can get involved?
The Americas have certainly increased in touristic popularity over the years, and this trend shows no sign of slowing. Avid explorers both young and old flock to the Amazon, Costa Rica and elsewhere in the hopes of witnessing natural biodiversity at its best and, crucially, with the intention to make a difference to the wildlife found in this part of the world. Many also choose to volunteer in the Americas.
The Great Projects is proud to host an array of fantastic and award-winning projects, and the Americas are no exception. Whether you seek to work with marine life, forest-dwellers or anything in between, there’s a project for you – all we ask is that you have a passion for the protection of wildlife, and are willing to work hard towards building a sustainable future for all species found here.
No matter your age, ability, or preference towards a certain species or destination, your efforts on a volunteer project are always appreciated. The time to make a difference is now, but where will your adventure take you – Bolivia, Costa Rica, or the Amazon?
There are a number of beautiful destinations to be found in the Americas, with each country boasting its own unique culture. But what makes this part of the world so special is its indigenous wildlife: from the iconic sloth to a menagerie of birds, amphibians and more, the wildlife here is the stuff of documentary dreams. This alone may capture your imagination…but the need to protect those very species will steal your heart.
As a volunteer, you’ll work towards the protection of threatened species. Your primary role will be to assist with activities such as the daily upkeep of sanctuaries, but you may find yourself facing off with remarkable animals such as anteaters and clouded leopards. If you’re really lucky, you may even have the opportunity to witness some rare or never-before-seen species: for example, volunteers on the Amazon Conservation Project were fortunate to be a part of the discovery of a type of rain frog back in 2016!
Life as a volunteer in the Americas can be unpredictable, and sometimes a little challenging, but it also promises to be rewarding and unforgettable. Experience personal growth and leave your mark on the world by getting involved today!
While the Americas are home to some brilliant wildlife experiences, it is important to be vigilant when selecting from the bunch. Be wary of organisations that offer ‘cuddling’ experiences or ‘hands-on’ activities: being ‘hands-on’ is seldom in the best interest of an animal, and it's vital that boundaries are put in place between visitors and wildlife as to ensure the safety of both parties.
Tourist attractions such as photo opportunities should, too, be avoided. Such an activity can result in serious stress for an animal, and attractions like these are simply not ethical. It is highly likely that the animals involved have been taken from their natural habitats and have had to suffer life in captivity. The forcible handling by passing tourists is just another element of avoidable suffering, and activities like these need to be stamped out.
Finally, there are certain mainstream attractions which are not only incredibly dated, but are seriously detrimental to animals. One example of this is the ‘swimming with dolphins’ activity which is prevalent through South America and the United States. Captivity is no place for animals - certainly not ones as intelligent and empathetic as dolphins – so take a stand by avoiding these cruel tourist traps when embarking on your American adventure.