Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities

Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities

If you are looking for wildlife volunteer opportunities, you might not only be surprised by how many opportunities exist around the world, you will also be pleased to find out that you can choose to work with wildlife that ignites your passion and join thousands of other volunteers who are making a real tangible difference to the protection of our wildlife – while also enjoying a travel opportunity and conservation experience of a lifetime.



The vast array of wildlife species we know and love, and the undetermined number of species we are yet to discover, are a precious gift from Nature to all the people of our planet. Few things are as wonderous as seeing a magnificent big cat, a majestic herd of elephant, an ancient rhino or an imposing shark in its beautiful natural habitat.

Some of the most iconic wildlife, including the Big 5 – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and African elephant, the largest land mammal on the planet – can only be found in Southern Africa.

Unfortunately, many of these precious wildlife species – along with thousands of others such as coral reefs, giraffes, bees, insects, whales and more – are facing the threat of extinction at a rate last experienced when the dinosaurs went extinct more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018, the current rate of species extinction is at least 100 to 1,000 times higher than nature intended. We’ve seen a shocking 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians in just over 40 years.

The report also notes: “The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching. If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy.”

If you are passionate about wildlife, you will know that all living creatures are valuable and play a unique role in the complex web of life in which biodiversity is essential for healthy and functional ecosystems. Where wildlife is eradicated from its natural habitat, the delicate ecosystem balance is disturbed with often disastrous results. In addition, wildlife is essential for a strong tourism industry in Southern Africa, which creates opportunities and benefits for local communities, boosts local economies and contributes to wildlife conservation.

Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife conservation has become critical, given the rate of extinction our wildlife faces and the rapidly dwindling numbers of so many wildlife species. It is crucial that the fundamental importance of wildlife to our well-being and surroundings is recognised, as is ensuring that future generations can also enjoy all the gifts Mother Nature bestowed on all the people of the Earth.

Wildlife conservation can be defined as the practice of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitats. It is a mammoth task that requires a united and global movement of consumers, voters, educators, political and community leaders and scientists to take decisive and immediate action.

Although many governments and non-government agencies have been searching for viable conservation techniques, more balanced approaches and long-term initiatives are required for ultimate success in wildlife conservation.

As Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, says: “Few people have the chance to be a part of truly historic transformations. This is ours… Today, we still have a choice. We can be the founders of a global movement that changed our relationship with the planet, that saw us secure a future for all life on Earth, including our own. Or we can be the generation that had its chance and failed to act; that let Earth slip away. The choice is ours. Together we can make it happen for nature and for people.”

Volunteers Turn the Tide

Many nations have government agencies and NGO’s dedicated to wildlife conservation, which help to implement policies designed to protect wildlife. Numerous independent non-profit organisations also promote various wildlife conservation causes.

These organisations are almost always constrained by limited budgets and few hands. Encouragingly, help is at hand from people just like you! Millions of volunteers from all over the world are standing up to turn the tide in wildlife conservation – ordinary citizens who are willing to travel to far-away lands, roll up their sleeves and do what must be done to save our wildlife.

“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.” – Helen Dyer

There is no doubt that these volunteers are making a real and tangible difference in protecting and conserving our wildlife, while also changing their own lives for the better.

Volunteers contribute enormous amounts of man-hours as well as much needed funds to help cover the vast expenses of looking after our precious wildlife and conservation areas. In fact, research by WYSE Travel Confederation shows that international volunteering contributes towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, fosters mutually-beneficial exchange of cultural knowledge and increases project awareness. In addition, visiting volunteers contribute a considerable amount of tourism spend directly into local economies that might not otherwise benefit from mainstream tourism spending. Volunteers also share their experiences with their social networks, raising crucial awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

Volunteers also benefit from their wildlife volunteer experiences. Unlike a tourist vacation, volunteering allows you to enjoy an extraordinary travel experience, living and working hands on day-to-day with local people and wild animals in places tourists would rarely have an opportunity to visit. In addition, you will meet other volunteers – people with similar passions and interests as you have – from all over the world, some of whom will become life-long friends and important connections for the future. Volunteering also allows you to broaden your knowledge and abilities, gain experience and a new perspective on life, and learn life skills that will benefit you in future. Perhaps most importantly, witnessing the impact your actions, being part of the solution, working with other like-minded people and realising that you can make a difference: these are life-changing experiences. It is what drives people to keep volunteering.

Volunteer Southern Africa has safely hosted more than 9,500 volunteers from 25 countries – and more than 850 of them are returning volunteers who return to enjoy the experience and the opportunity to make a difference again and again. You too could join us – it is as simple as picking your wildlife volunteer opportunities from the list of our top picks below.

Our Top Picks for Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities

These Volunteer Southern Africa wildlife volunteer opportunities have been selected on the basis of a decade of wildlife volunteer experience as well as the following criteria:

* your volunteering efforts make a real impact to the wildlife you are most passionate about
* your safety and comfort are assured
* you enjoy a first-class African conservation experience

Living with Big Cats
Living with Orphaned Rhinos
Living with Elephants and Rhinos
Living with Cheetahs
Living with Big Cats Wild Edition
Living with Horses on Safari

Simply Click Here and Tell Us When You’d Like to Volunteer and We’ll Find the Best Volunteering Experience Available for You!

Earl Smith