Sea turtle conservation holidays are just one of hundreds of choices for volunteerism trips!

It takes a certain sort of person to spend their valuable holiday time doing something for others—whether those others are people, animals or places in general. Many organizations rely on the kindness of others to complete their important work and as a result, a thriving volunteerism community has grown. If you are looking for opportunities to help with animal conservation, but want to travel while you’re at it, try any of these suggested volunteerism holidays. 

Giant Pandas, China

When there are an estimated 1,600 giant pandas left in the world, it’s clear that something needs to be done to save these gentle giants. The pandas, which are well-loved around the world and are a symbol of conservation, have many sanctuaries that are determined to encourage the future of the species. These sanctuaries take care of the animals and give them a safe place to form families and live out their years. Volunteering as a panda keeper will get you incredibly close to these bears, which are notoriously hard to see up close. Volunteers will have an opportunity to babysit the cubs, care for captive-bred animals, and work with other animals like red pandas and golden monkeys.

Sea Turtles, Costa Rica

Imagine spending your holiday, relaxing on a beach with other animal lovers, looking over the nests of Leatherback sea turtles and protecting them against poachers through the night. Volunteers at Costa Rica’s Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge helps ensure these recent hatchlings make it to the sea. The turtles need every bit of help they can get because their species are critically endangered with more than 80% of their population disappearing in the past decade.

Lizards, Honduras

Just off the coast of Honduras there is a perfect little Caribbean island that has managed to do the seemingly-impossible: avoid massive crowds of tourists. The Conservation Project Utila Iguana sits on this piece of paradise and works to protect the nearly-extinct Utila Iguanas and other endangered lizards that have been threatened by continual development on the beaches where the females bury their eggs. In addition to lizards, there are a number of tropical birds that call the island home and volunteers to the conservation project can help feeding the animals, nursing the orphaned animals and other housekeeping jobs like cutting the grass and clearing paths of debris.

Vultures, Croatia

Off the coast of Croatia on the Adriatic Sea, there is an island called Cres where sunny dense woodlands protect golden eagles, wolves, bears and more. When you visit Cres as a volunteer you will likely work to protect and help griffon vultures, which are struggling to survive on their own. When the conservation program was created 15 years ago by Dr. Goran Susic, there were only 25 pairs of the birds on the island. Thanks to his efforts and help from volunteers that number is up to almost 100! During your stay you’ll be responsible for feeding baby vultures, checking on nests to be sure no babies have fallen into the sea and taking care of the older birds. When you aren’t helping the vultures, you can wander around the island and find ruins, hike on nature trails, overlook the sea from atop cliffs and watch dolphins play in the waves.

Black Rhino, Kenya

The Sweetwaters Research Centre is set in the middle of a savannah landscape in Kenya right in the middle of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Here, you’ll find massive black rhinos wander through the area, munching on the plant life they depend on to sustain themselves. As vegetarians, plant life is the most essential part of survival and if you volunteer here in Kenya you’ll be partially responsible for the condition and composition of the plant life these giant herbivores will devour. Along the way, you’ll see lions, leopards, zebras, buffalos, impala and more!

When you’re travelling on your next volunteerism holiday, it’s important to protect your trip with travel insurance. Economy travel insurance from Cover-More UK gives you an affordable way to make sure you’re covered if an incident or accident disrupts your travel plans. For a small price, you can get a lot of protection.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Thangaraj Kumaravel

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