In an ideal world, I’m sure a lot of us would like to spend all our days around animals and nature. The dream is not too far though, there are numerous centres within our bustling towns and cities where we can getaway and provide at least some of our time, love and attention to animals in need. There are programs that tend not only to domesticated animals dogs and cats, but also to urban wildlife like owls, snakes and monkeys. Here’s a list of some places where you could fulfil both your need to spend time with furry creatures and further aid their welfare.
I. People For Animals, Bangalore
With the onslaught of urbanisation, wildlife in these areas has been suffering due to loss of habitat. Recognising this, People For Animals is a rescue and rehabilitation center especially focused on urban wildlife such as monkeys, snakes, and a variety of birds. The tasks for volunteers can range from the rescue of these animals, enclosure cleaning, feeding to assisting in medical procedures. They encourage volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to join them. You can keep updated of their specific volunteer needs through their Facebook page.
For general volunteer information, see here.
Source: People For Animals
Elephants have been an integral part of Indian culture for years. For most mahouts, taking care of these animals is their only source of income and very often, they need help—which the government does not provide. This conservation program takes in volunteers all year round who help to feed, bathe and care for the elephants. The project requires a minimum commitment of a week, which can be extended for up to four months.
Even though the program is open throughout the year, it is best to avoid volunteering during the summer, as Jaipur gets almost unbearably hot. Anytime between October to March is a good time to help do your bit.
To know more about this program, check out their website.
III. Wildlife SOS- Agra, Delhi, and Mathura
As a part of their volunteering program, you will work with bears and elephants and will have duties such as building hammocks for Sloth Bears, bathing elephants and helping keepers with daily feedings. They also are involved in the rehabilitation of bears and elephants used for commercial purposes. At Wildlife SOS you’ll get a chance to work hands-on with the rescued animals, feeding, cleaning and general cuddling is a must. The program does not require any prior experience, although you would have to be physically fit, be able to tolerate and adapt to high temperatures and humidity levels and be able to work well with a team.
To apply, download the form from their website.
Source: Wildlife SOS
IV. The Great Tiger Project, Kanha National Park
Volunteer with The Great Tiger Project in one of the best locations in the world to witness Bengal tigers. As a part of this project, you will be able to conduct walks and vehicle-based safaris, participate in tiger-conservation activities and community-focused initiatives. You will learn how to identify animal tracks, set up camera traps, help tribal villages minimize their carbon footprint and delve into the region’s culture while working with local artists.
For more information and applications you can visit their website.
V. The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Chennai
The Croc Bank breeds several species of threatened reptiles, including two chelonians listed as critically endangered. It has two permanent field stations to carry out safekeeping of captive animals and several projects that are always ongoing. Their volunteer program is for reptile-enthusiasts 18 years and above and are interested and ready to run a zoo.They have short-term projects for two to four weeks, as well as long-term volunteering opportunities for over five weeks.
Check out the application process here.
VI. Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, Maharashtra
This multifaceted organisation deals with the conservation of everything that walks, flies or swims. They offer many different opportunities to get involved with their process, so even if you don’t have much time on your hands you can chip in from the comfort of your own home. If you do want a hands-on experience you could join in their annual Turtle Festival where they collaborate with the Kasav Mitra Mandalto ensure effective tourist management. The nesting and birthing season for sea turtles is an ecologically fragile time and by giving presentations and providing alternate facilities to those who are less aware, many baby turtles will get a fighting chance that hasn’t been offered to them in the past.
Download the application form here.
VII. Animal Aid Unlimited, Jaipur
Not only does this organisation rescue and rehabilitate street animals, but it is also a sanctuary for cows, dogs, and donkeys who are too fragile to survive on the streets. They have flexible volunteering schedules, and you will be assigned a range of tasks from feeding and bathing the animals to assisting in physical therapy. They especially encourage you to socialize and cuddle with the sanctuary dogs, who need love and affection.
Check out their manual and details for volunteers here.
VIII. Blue Cross India, Chennai
Their name is virtually synonymous with animal welfare in Chennai and have drawn nationwide acclaim for their excellence in their field. Though it started small with the four founding members today the effects of their work are being reflected throughout their domain. They have many volunteers from all walks of life who freely donate their time and expertise to facilitating their projects which treat and re-home strays, as well as help with taking care of animals on the campus and rescue services.
To join in their fight or to donate to the cause click here. To know about other animal shelters around Indian cities to help out at, see here.
Feature Image Source: volunteerhq.org
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