Eco-Tourism is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of travel for nature lovers and environmental enthusiasts. By contributing to the preservation of natural habitats and minimizing the human impact on local ecosystems through a variety of volunteer activities, adventurous individuals can visit some of the most beautiful places in the world and leave behind a positive footprint.
Why Volunteer Abroad in Eco-Tourism
Eco-tourism volunteering is a great way to experience some of the world’s best kept habitats and landscapes while working to protect local plant and animal species from the destructive effects of human expansion. Becoming an eco-tourism volunteers is a great way to partake in adventure activities, such as trekking, kayaking, scuba diving, and more, while also ensuring and contributing to the preservation of habitats for native species and future generations.
Eco-tourism volunteer programs are offered all over the world in a variety of different environmental landscapes. Many of these locations have been very well preserved due to the hard work of environmental organizations and activists, meaning that you will have a responsibility to give back as you travel and experience these natural wonderlands.
Central & South America are two such regions that are very popular for eco-tourism volunteering abroad. Straddling the equator are such bio-diverse hotspots as Costa Rica, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands. These habitats are the home of thousands of indigenous species and offer eco-volunteers the opportunity to experience a unique landscape while working to protect vulnerable plants and animals.
Sub-Saharan Africa is another popular destination for eco-tourism volunteer work, where many indigenous species are continuously threatened by poaching and other harmful human activities. Africa’s infamous “big five” animals, the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros, are among the most vulnerable species on the continent.
Regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania are also increasingly popular destinations for eco-tourism volunteer programs. Regions of the Himalayas, India, and Borneo feature incredibly beautiful landscapes and are home to many exotic species, such as elephants, tigers, and orangutan. The Australian Outback is also a thriving and diverse environment where you can work to protect many indigenous species on this isolated island continent.
Eco-Tourism Volunteering Abroad
Eco-tourism volunteer programs typically blend a good amount of work and fun. They also vary a lot when it comes to the type of tasks you will be responsible for completing, largely because of the variety of vulnerable characteristics of each specific habitat.
For example, in Central America the sea turtle population has become endangered due to poaching and erosion, so eco-tourism volunteer placements might include patrolling beaches at night in search of nests and helping to release new born turtles into the wild. In Africa habitats are being destroyed and many animals suffer from poaching, so volunteers might work closely with zebras, elephants, or even cheetahs in a wildlife sanctuary. While on the other hand, in New Zealand many habitats are in danger from environmental degradation, so volunteers might work to plant trees, build hiking trails, or conduct flora and fauna surveys.
These are just a few examples of the many different types of eco-tourism volunteer work that international volunteers can engage in, but specific tasks will always be based on local ecological needs. Eco-tourism volunteer programs tend to run for two weeks up to a few months, and volunteers are given a good amount of flexibility in customizing their own trip. Different programs come with different accommodations, prices, and group sizes, so take factors such a these into account when deciding where to become an eco-tourism volunteer abroad.
Eco-tourism volunteering abroad is your ticket to experiencing some of the most geographically impressive and biologically diverse regions of the world, while working within the bounds of an environmentally friendly program. This is truly the chance to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and form long-lasting memories, in places where many people will never get to travel and with unique species of plants and animals. Most importantly, you can feel confident that your volunteer work is helping to protect the local community and the indigenous species which populate it.