I came to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center project to make a contribution, and I feel I did, but the center’s contribution to me was even greater.
So if you are now reading through and wondering whether you should do it, from my personal point of view the answer is – absolutely yes!
Although the first day may seem overwhelming, before you notice the center will become your home and the people and animals will become your family.
The setting is amazing with mountains surrounding you and the food is really good but with that said, it is nothing near a relaxation. With that said, no matter what challenges you come through, the animals and your chance to become a contributor to this amazing eco system is incredibly rewarding. The variety of animals is large and there’s usually an interesting story to each of them plus it’s likely that new animals will keep coming in at least a couple of times a week.
So how does it work? There’s a daily routine in place and specific responsibilities to each volunteer / group of volunteers. Each team is responsible for a group of animals that they have to feed and nurture twice a day. The group usually consists of birds, servals or honey badgers, and some special cases like bush babies and more, if you feel like taking this extra responsibility. Other than that, you will most likely also get the chance to interact with cheetahs, lions, leopards, hippos, rhino, hyenas, wild dogs, vultures and more. Keep in mind that a significant portion of time requires cleaning animal enclosures as well as dirty food preparation or physical jobs. What always kept me going was all the lovely animals and their necessity of our support, care and love.
So here are the things that I feel I gained during this unforgettable experience:
– Animal hands-on experience and great knowledge
– Deeper understanding of Africa’s Eco system, specifically hunting and animal conservation issues.
– Personal experience and challenge which sometimes required pushing my physical and mental strength close to the limit, but it all paid off!
– Socially, I met people from different parts of the world at different ages. It’s not always easy to be surrounded by the same people 24/7, but since we were sharing similar experiences they slowly became a family to me.
Whatever expectations you have you can let them go as it will turn out to be different than you think. The important thing is to remember that there is no dull moment in the center and the rest you’ll have to find out yourself.
My recommended amount of time to spend at the Rehabilitation Center is min. 3 weeks. I have initially booked my stay for 2 weeks but I have extended it as I felt it wasn’t long enough, and I was not yet ready to say goodbye to these beautiful creatures.