Recently, CNN-GO published a list of eight worldwide travel destinations for people looking to get more out of their vacations than a few pictures and a suntan, and we were delighted to see that among the animal volunteer opportunities listed was ALERT’s Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Lion Rehabilitation and Release Program.
Rehabilitate lions in Zimbabwe
In 1975 more than 200,000 lions roamed the African continent. Estimates from 2002 put their number between 23,000 and 39,000, representing a steep decline in less than 30 years.
Against the backdrop of the majestic Victoria Falls, this project involves working on a lion breeding and rehabilitation program at a private game reserve, where you can walk and work with lions, exposing the cubs to the African bush as they hone their natural skills.
You will also be involved in the research of lions’ behavior and work on the world’s only program for their release into the wild. Also assist with conservation in the Victoria Falls National Park, as well as conservation education at a local primary school.
Other voluntourism opportunities include: koala research in Australia, sea turtle conservation in Greece, a przewalski horse release program in Mongolia, volunteering with lemurs in Madagascar, working with elephants in Thailand, saving sharks in South Africa, and fundraising horse treks in Turkey.
Click here to read the entire list, including details, links, and contact information specific to each program.
We should note that our trip will be taking us to ALERT’s Lion Rehabilitation and Release Program in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, and not to the above-listed Victoria Falls destination (which we do hope to visit some day). ALERT’s volunteer programs are handled through their sister organization, African Impact, whose volunteer projects on the African continent are not just limited to working with lions, but also include such diverse opportunities as pre-school teaching, medical outreach, elephant and rhino conservation, and whale research, among many others.
Check out African Impact’s site for more information on their volunteer programs.