Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world. Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.
Responsible tourism: Lynx, wolf & bear conservation volunteer holiday in Slovakia
With higher numbers of wolves, lynx and bears in Slovakia since the second half of the 20th century, conflicts with local people have come to public attention. Negative aspects of their presence often make news headlines, promoting a heightened sense of fear. Wolves sometimes cause considerable losses to livestock, particularly sheep, and hunters think they will wipe out game stocks. Such conflicts often lead to calls for culling, which is the approach that almost eradicated carnivores from Slovakia in the past. The concurrent emergence of new threats to wildlife and habitats presented by economic development means that a more sensitive approach is required, one based on a sound understanding of the place of carnivores in ecosystems, but also considering their impact on local people. As very little modern scientific work has been done on large carnivores in Slovakia, there is much to be done in order to achieve these goals.
We are a multi-award winning (including multiple awards from Responsible Travel), not-for-profit organisation committed to running real wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth and says
Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions but genuine research expeditions, promoting sustainable conservation and preservation of the planet's wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. Our goal is to make, through our expedition work, an active contribution towards a sustainable biosphere. We believe in empowering ordinary people by placing them at the centre of scientific study and by actively involving them out in the field, where there is conservation work to be done.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists and try our best to ensure that the fruits of our expedition work benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our expeditions, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere. We exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our planet.
To achieve this we will wherever possible: + collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments (wherever possible from the host nation) who are experts in their field + collaborate with organisations and businesses which operate in an ethical and/or sustainable way + operate in an ethical and sustainable way, minimising negative impacts on local cultures, environments and economies + publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.
Our main partner for this project is the Protection of Carpathian Wilderness (PCW), a non-profit Slovak initiative for the conservation of Carpathian wildlife. Other partners include the Slovak State Protection of Nature Department, the Forestry Department and the National Park authorities of the Velká Fatra and Mala Fatra National Parks.
All missions are developed with local partners and scientists, as well as community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into the local community, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.
Accommodation varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.
Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources.
Where applicable, team members are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.
Briefings before the start of the mission and leaders during the mission highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to team members.
Reviews of Lynx, wolf & bear conservation volunteer holiday in Slovakia
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 24 Feb 2012 by David Guixé
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
To made more than 30 kilometres surveyed in a deep snow following lynx, wolf and bears in a complete wild mountains.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
To sense a wild nature, tracking along the mountains with snow shoes where nobody runs and take the exciting moments when your are following a fresh track of bear or lynx.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Yes, the people who work in a mountain refuge, on the restaurant and it's very useful for scientific team and to open the eyes of the governments about the importance of nature conservation of that region.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?