Are you working on a degree in veterinary medicine with an itch for travel? Or maybe you’re just an animal lover? Consider the world of voluntourism, and travel with purpose while working with animal volunteer organizations around the world. 

Taking the time for travel can offer you an exciting opportunity to explore the world, learn about different cultures, and play an active role in making a difference. In particular, volunteering with animal advocacy organizations can allow you to contribute to important wildlife conservation efforts. Voluntourism is all about making your trip count —combining tourism with transformation and adventure with advocacy. 

If you're looking for a travel experience that is as enlightening as it is exhilarating, then Further Travel has you covered. Our core mission is to create life-changing, soul-stirring journeys around the globe that are about more than just ticking off landmarks. 

Further Travel offers trips with destinations in: 

Yes, you'll see incredible sights, but, with Further Travel, you also get to roll up your sleeves and dive headfirst into cultural exchange opportunities that can genuinely transform lives—yours included!

Understanding Voluntourism

At its core, voluntourism is about more than just sightseeing. 

This approach focuses on active engagement with the host community, fostering cultural exchange and mutual understanding. It's a philosophy that reframes travel as a two-way street – where travelers experience new places and cultures and offer their skills, time, and efforts to assist local causes.

In today's interconnected world, voluntourism has never been more critical. As global challenges - from climate change to social inequality - continue to mount, there’s an increasing need for hands-on support and active participation from individuals across the globe. Travel and volunteering abroad allows travelers to respond to these challenges in a personal and direct way, helping to bridge cultural, economic, and geographical divides.

Benefits of Combining Travel & Volunteering

Incorporating volunteering into your gap year travels can bring many benefits—not only for you as an individual but also for the communities and causes you'll be supporting.

When it comes to personal benefits, here’s a look at what you can expect to gain: 

  1. Cultural Exchange: Voluntourism provides you with a deep-dive into local cultures, traditions, and lifestyles, offering a richer and more authentic travel experience than standard tourism.
  2. Skill Development: You'll have opportunities to learn and hone new skills as you volunteer. This might range from language proficiency to practical abilities like animal care, project management, and teamwork.
  3. Broadened Perspectives: Working closely with local communities and international volunteers can broaden your horizons and challenge your worldview, fostering a greater sense of global citizenship.
  4. Career Enhancement: The skills and experiences gained through voluntourism can enhance your resume, making you a more attractive candidate in the job market.

Beyond your own experience, you’re also creating a positive impact on society through: 

  1. Community Support: Voluntourism projects often directly support local communities, whether through conservation efforts, education, or health initiatives. Your contributions can make a tangible difference.
  2. Animal Advocacy: Volunteering with animal organizations raises awareness about wildlife conservation, and your hands-on efforts can contribute to the welfare and preservation of diverse species.
  3. Sustainable Tourism: By focusing on volunteer work and cultural exchange, you promote a more responsible form of tourism that respects local cultures, environments, and economies.
  4. Global Awareness: Voluntourism helps spread awareness about global challenges and inspires more people to contribute to solving these issues, creating positive change.

Ultimately, voluntourism is a win-win—you receive an enriching, unforgettable experience, and in return, you give back to the communities and causes you engage with. This blend of personal development and social impact ensures your gap year becomes a powerful, purpose-filled adventure.

Travel & Volunteer with Animals

When it comes to the realm of voluntourism, working with animal volunteer organizations is a particularly rewarding pathway. It's a path that combines your love for animals, your passion for travel, and your commitment to making a difference into one transformative experience.

Animal advocacy fits perfectly into the concept of voluntourism because it involves practical, on-the-ground support for a cause with local and global significance. Much like other forms of voluntourism, animal advocacy also offers profound learning experiences and cultural exchange opportunities, particularly as you learn about the unique ways different communities interact with and value their local wildlife.

There are a multitude of animal welfare issues around the globe that could greatly benefit from the time, effort, and passion of international volunteers. Here are a few examples:

  1. Elephant Poaching in Africa: Elephants are a critical part of African ecosystems, but poachers often target them for their ivory tusks. Volunteers can support anti-poaching efforts, assist with community education programs, and help rehabilitate rescued elephants.
  2. Marine Conservation in Asia and Oceania: These regions are home to diverse marine life, including endangered species like sea turtles and various kinds of whales. As a volunteer, you could contribute to efforts like protecting turtle nesting sites, cleaning up marine debris, or supporting sustainable tourism initiatives.
  3. Stray Dog Challenges in Southeast Asia: In many parts of Southeast Asia, stray dogs are widespread. These dogs often suffer from malnutrition, disease, and injuries due to traffic accidents or human cruelty. Volunteers can contribute to rescue operations, provide medical care, assist in rehoming efforts, and educate communities about responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.

By choosing to volunteer with animal organizations during your gap year, you can directly contribute to alleviating these pressing issues. Every pair of helping hands brings us one step closer to a world where humans and animals can coexist harmoniously, ensuring our global ecosystems' continued richness and diversity. 

Now that's a vacation with a mission!

Finding the Right Animal Volunteer Organizations

With a growing interest in wildlife conservation volunteering, there’s a ton of organizations worldwide that offer volunteering opportunities. However, it's important to ensure that the organization you support is legitimate and responsible.

Why is this important? Simply put, not all volunteer organizations are created equal. 

Some well-meaning groups may lack the resources or expertise to effectively contribute to animal welfare, while others may exploit the goodwill of volunteers for financial gain. In the worst cases, some operations inadvertently harm the very animals they purport to protect, often by prioritizing the desires of tourists over the needs of the wildlife.

A responsible and effective animal volunteer organization will:

  • prioritize the welfare of the animals and the local community above all else
  • be transparent about how they use their resources
  • have established, ethical guidelines for interacting with animals
  • demonstrate a commitment to sustainable and impactful conservation efforts.

Remember, the goal of your gap year voluntourism journey is not just to travel, but to make a difference. By ensuring you partner with a legitimate animal volunteer organization, you can be confident that your time, effort, and passion will contribute to meaningful, positive change for our animal friends across the globe.

What Makes Further Travel a Qualified Resource for Animal Volunteer Organizations

Further Travel is more than your average student travel program, but a bridge that connects eager travelers to top animal volunteer organizations worldwide. Our steadfast commitment to sustainability and responsible travel assures that your journey will be a personal adventure and a boon to the environments and communities you visit.

One of the things that sets Further Travel apart is our commitment to thorough vetting of the organizations we partner with. It's not just about finding a place to volunteer, but ensuring that your efforts genuinely contribute to the wellbeing of animals and the community. Further Travel is stringent about partnering only with organizations prioritizing animal welfare and practicing ethical, sustainable conservation methods. 

We thoroughly examine each organization's mission, track record, transparency in resource allocation, and commitment to the cause. As a result, when you travel with Further Travel, you can rest easy knowing that you're supporting legitimate organizations that are truly dedicated to making a difference in animal advocacy. It's not just about traveling; it's about ensuring your journey and efforts make the world better.

5 Volunteer Organizations for Animals Through Further Travel

There's no better way to witness Further Travel's dedication to making a difference than through the exceptional animal volunteer organizations we work with. Each one offers a unique opportunity for you to contribute to a cause close to your heart while exploring the world. 

Whether it's rehabilitating wildlife in South Africa or protecting sea turtles in Bali, these organizations provide a platform for you to make your travels impactful. So buckle up as we introduce you to our esteemed partners that make your journey of voluntourism with Further Travel a truly life-changing adventure.

Rescue P.A.W.S. in Thailand 

One of our newest trips is made just for dog lovers. 

Rescue P.A.W.S. is a unique opportunity where your passion for animals meets the call of adventure in the serene village of Khao Tao, Thailand. This two-week stint invites you to directly combat the country's stray dog epidemic directly, providing hands-on help through daily care that includes beach walks, feeding, playtime, and health checks.

Set in a Buddhist temple near the beach, Rescue P.A.W.S offers a healing environment for both you and your new furry friends. You'll be working closely with these dogs, providing essential care, and observing their transformation firsthand, making this experience both rewarding and heartwarming.

But the journey doesn't end there. Immerse yourself deeper into Thai culture through an included excursion, like visiting an elephant sanctuary or participating in a Thai cooking class. 

This trip with Rescue P.A.W.S isn’t just about travel—it’s about creating bonds, making a difference, and leaving paw prints on your heart. Get ready for a life-changing adventure you won’t forget!

Elephant Camp in Thailand

If you’re looking to work with larger animals, look no further than our Thailand trips, featuring a visit to the elephant camp. Whether you visit for just a day or opt for the Camp Elephant adventure, you’re in for an exciting experience with these incredible animals. 

Recognized for setting standards in animal welfare, this award-winning camp provides an unforgettable experience where you can observe and interact with elephants in their natural habitat.

Engage in an intimate connection with the elephants, understanding their behaviors, and participating in their routines. Experience the joy of feeding them and, in a burst of fun, join in on their mud bath. Their playful antics will leave you with a heart full of warmth and a memory card full of cherished moments.

Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand

This is another one for dog lovers. 

Founded in 2003, the Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket has been the beacon of hope for animals across Asia, working tirelessly to end their suffering through rescue, sterilization, vaccination, medical treatment, shelter, and adoption.

Over the years, the Soi Dog Foundation has made significant strides, rescuing over 16,000 dogs from the dog meat trade and sterilizing and vaccinating more than 900,000 animals. During our 20-Day Thailand Explorer Trip, you'll join this mission, lending a helping hand at the local dog rescue charity after an enlightening induction and orientation. You'll meet the dogs and even the 160+ resident cats, each with a heartwarming tale of resilience.

As a volunteer, you become part of this significant mission to 'improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia’, working towards a society free from homeless animals and ending animal cruelty.

Serangan Turtle Conservation in Bali

If you’re adventuring in Bali, you’ll get the chance to dive into a meaningful adventure with the Serangan Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) in Bali, an initiative dedicated to protecting and preserving Balinese turtles. Once prevalent, these majestic creatures now face endangerment due to human activities such as hunting, egg consumption, and habitat pollution.

This initiative is essential to a comprehensive strategy to eradicate illegal turtle trading on the island. The TCEC is devoted to offering these endangered turtles a fighting chance, all while engaging the local community and transitioning them away from the illegal turtle business.

As a volunteer, you'll actively maintain enclosures, support environmental education programs, and participate in beach clean-ups. You'll feel a deep connection with Mother Nature, knowing your efforts are safeguarding the future of these majestic sea dwellers.

Kwantu Game Reserve in South Africa

If South Africa is more your speed, we have an entire trip dedicated to animal conservation!

This trip gives you the opportunity to work with the Kwantu Game Reserve over the course of two weeks. This 6,000-hectare sanctuary is positioned in one of the most biologically diverse regions of South Africa.  Situated in the malaria-free adventure province, nestled between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, this Big 5 game reserve resides along the banks of the Bushman’s River. 

Your conservation tasks will offer an engaging blend of physical work and fascinating lecture-based content, giving you a deeper understanding of South African wildlife's life and history. You'll be directly involved in the reserve's maintenance and the care and feeding of specific animals. Your work will also extend to the on-site Big Cat Rescue Education Centre and Animal Rehabilitation Centre, assisting with operations as per the host's requirements and the potential for rehabilitating and releasing animals back into the wild.

This enriching journey offers an all-around experience of a lifetime on a Big 5 Game Reserve, enabling you to immerse yourself in the essence of nature and local conservation efforts. Your contributions will be pivotal to the region's sustainability as you assist with everyday tasks on the reserve under the guidance of our conservation experts and zoologists.

Apply for Your Next Adventure Today

Ready to kickstart your journey to becoming a wildlife conservation volunteer? To learn more about working with Further Travel, contact us by calling 0161 222 3780. And of course, browse our website to explore different programs and find the right camp for you.

‍If you’re ready to take the next step, start your application here. We can’t wait to see the difference you make!

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Aug 8, 2023

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