Over the last ten years, Globalteer has placed thousands of volunteers with projects dedicated to the care, rehabilitation, and protection of all kinds of animals - from elephants to orangutans and from turtles to dogs. We asked some of our past volunteers to tell us how the experience impacted on them and, with the benefit of hindsight, what made their experience really special.
Zach Leonardi: Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary
My time in the jungle at the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary not only gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with the (adorable) elephants at the project, but opened my eyes to how deeply impactful wildlife conservation in the nation is across sectors - from its relationship to environmental preservation, delicate regional politics, community healthcare and education, tourism, and many others.
There was no single better experience for my newly held degree than seeing and contributing, first-hand, to the community development and wildlife conservation taking place at the project. With a feeling of empowerment, knowledge, and confidence in traveling I continued to pursue my passion for sustainable development and moved to South America to work in the non-profit sector.
Julia Quick: Peru Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary
My favourite thing about volunteering at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary was EVERYTHING. The whole team was wonderful, and I was made to feel right at home from day one. Their passion and dedication for the animals they care for was wonderful to see and be around. Getting to interact with and care for animals was an experience I will treasure forever.
The two baby monkeys I was looking after – Siggy and Ramone – really captured my heart. I formed a wonderful bond with them and shed a tear when I had to leave! They were beautiful animals that I spent some wonderful time with.
Stephen Bajwa: Peru Dog Rescue Project
We had to take care of the dogs every day with the basic feeding and walking requirements and also find time to give the dogs quality attention and affection. On top of that, we had to balance this with the everyday tasks of maintenance and upkeep of the shelter, such as daily cleaning, building fences, and erecting roofs for protection from the sun and the rain. Yes, rain!
It is difficult to think of a favourite thing about the project. I loved and cherished every moment I spent there and actually seeing the appreciation in the dogs eyes with their wagging tails and wide smiles. For me, that's what makes everything worthwhile.
I cannot explain why, but there was an instant connection with Paqcho and me. The more time I spent with him, the stronger the bond became. In fact, I dedicate this testimonial to him. I will miss him dearly – my friend and my shadow.
Eva Erato-Rudek: Thailand Elephant Sanctuary
My absolute favourite elephant was also the oldest, at 75 and I was fortunate to work with her for four days. She's gentle and just wonderful. She takes her food gently, she walks nicely and seems to enjoy eating the fruit we cut up for her to eat during her baths.
I know that in the time that we have at the sanctuary, we can't really ‘bond’ with the elephants, but I got to spend enough time with her that I felt a closeness to her. I have to say that each elephant that I worked with was just wonderful and they each had their own personality. It is amazing to me that they are so gentle and calm; they are truly beautiful creatures with wonderful souls.