Do your bit for wildlife welfare by volunteering for these adventurous programmes.
FROM feeding crocs to bathing elephants, here are options for animal lovers to get down and dirty with their pet passion. Our pick of volunteer programmes across the globe will give you experience along with lessons on animal conservation and welfare. Meanwhile you can plan for Chennai Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network’s turtle walk (9940300200) down the Besant Nagar beach in January 2017 and release baby Olive Ridley turtles into the sea among other activities.
The Madras Crocodile Bank
If you are rooting for the cold blooded predators sign up for the volunteer programmes at the Crocodile Bank, Chennai. It includes zoo support and maintenance activities like food preparation and feeding gharials and alligators, and education and outreach activities of the trust. They have a two-week long programme for 18 year olds and above that includes accommodation and food (Rs 2,000 registration and Rs 750 per day). While there you could enjoy the night safari that will start functioning regularly for visitors from June 6 (tickets Rs 200). There are new batches every month and the next one starts from June 20. Meanwhile, the Bank is also celebrating their 40th anniversary on August 28 with a mela and games. Herpetologist and founder Rom Whitaker along with other trustees will talk about their journey and the future plans for the organisation, which will be followed by a brunch. Fees Rs 3,000 (brunch). Details: madrascrocodilebank.org
The Elephant Refuge and Education Centre
Head to the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary to spend quality time with the gentle giants and get an insight into the elephants’ lives. You will get a chance to live with the jumbos, gather food for them, feed, bathe and walk them. On through the year, there are one week programmes (Rs 32,600 approx) to four weeks (Rs 87,120 approx). It includes accommodation and food. Details: wildlifevolunteer.org
African Wildlife Sanctuary
Get up close and personal with big cats like white tigers and cheetahs by volunteering at the African Wildlife Ranch in South Africa’s Western Cape. It will include taking care of the white tigers and cheetahs from cleaning their habitats to feeding them and organising stimulating activities for the animals like manipulation and artificial prey. Starting from two week programmes, it includes accommodation and food. Next batch starts from June 6. For people aged between 18 and 55 years. Rs 44,855 onwards (approx). Details: goeco.org
— Saloni Sinha