Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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Time as a Wildtracks Volunteer (Sylvia)


Hi, my name is Sylvia,

I am from New York, U.S.A, and am 18 years old. I have been at Wildtracks for about a month now, and my volunteer experience is coming to an end. Ever since I could comprehend the struggles that animals go through in the modern world, I have wanted to help in any way I can. I organized bake sales, yard sales, and fundraisers to raise money for several organizations. The other animal conservation volunteer experience I had before attending Wildtracks was working as a Game Ranger Volunteer at Keriega Game Reserve, South Africa. Along with my volunteer experience, I have helped the conservation efforts of silverback gorillas, orca whales, sea turtles, rhinoceros, and now manatees. Unfortunately, the world does not have enough people involved in wildlife conservation. I have made it my life goal to spread awareness and to get others involved in the life long struggle of conservation. Conservation cannot be achieved alone, and the saying “strength in numbers” truly comes to life regarding the protection of the Earth’s keepers. I volunteered at Wildtracks from one month in order to further my education, understanding, and work experience in the world of wildlife conservation.

My experience at Wildtracks has been an eye opening one. When I arrived, Paul and Zoe made sure I was settled, and gave me a few days to become accustomed to the day-to-day life. There are many animals here to work with, but unfortunately, I was not signed up for long enough to get familiar with every single one. I learned a very important lesson about rehabilitation, which is keeping wild animals, wild. The animals here range from monkeys, manatees, deer, peccaries, margays, and even a river otter. Certain people are assigned to different animals, which allows interaction with humans to be as limited as possible. The animals that I had the pleasure to work with were Duke and Twiggy the manatees. My duties were to observe, interact, feed, and record the activities that the manatees did for my assigned times. I learned how to observe animal behavior, and analyze certain behaviors to summarize the well being of each animal. It was more than extraordinary to get to know each of these animals. From feeding Twiggy to tickling Duke, I truly felt like I created a special bound with these magnificent animals.

For any of those on the edge of deciding whether to come to Wildtracks or not- I would like to shed some light on some questions I had before attending. There are many other volunteers here – up to 14 at a time, both male and female. The majority of the volunteers at the moment are from the UK. Other volunteers are from the States and Canada, but in the past, people have volunteered from as far away as Japan and Brazil. Be prepared for the close living proximity, which can sometimes be overwhelming. For those city gals like myself- hot showers and unlimited internet are not available. Cold showers are very rewarding after a long hot day, when there is water available. Internet is limited to emails and Facebook. If you would like to Skype home- you can bike into Sarteneja, a picturesque fishing village, which is a 2-mile ride away.

There is a lot of work to be done here – besides working with animals, there is construction work, gardening, and harvesting sea grass in the lagoon. Although its hard work, it is very satisfying. My time at Wildtracks has been valuable, and rewarding.

Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-03-11 09:26:54   [Link to this article]

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