Posts Tagged ‘animal volunteer’

Lion’s Gate Portal – Volunteering With Lions


Today, August 8 is 8/8, an auspicious day on many calendars, in metaphysical communities, and for astrology buffs. Called the Lion’s Gate Portal, this day has been celebrated since the time of the Mayan empire with ceremonies and rituals. In numerology, the number 8 represents power, prosperity, sovereignty, and the flow of energy.

In a lovely convergence of themes, today is also International Cat Day.


In the spirit of the King of the Forest (and the much harder-working, more bad-ass female lioness, the Queen of the forest), here are a few volunteer opportunities around the world where you can work with lions!


LEO Africa has a Big 5 Wildlife Monitoring and Conservation volunteer program in South Africa’s Marakele National Park. You’ll monitor predator numbers and behaviors and get deeply involved in conservation policies and practices of South Africa. Volunteers are a vital part of ongoing research.

Wildlife ACT’s Fair Trade Tourism-certified wildlife volunteering includes an opportunity in Zululand, South Africa. Conservation volunteers work across five unique national parks and reserves where you’ll monitor lions and other endangered species, mapping their movement behaviors in morning and evening observational game tracking drives. Some programs also include darting and trapping animals for radio collaring to help with protection research.

Go ECO has volunteer programs at a Big Cat Refuge in South Africa as well as a Lion and Wildlife Conservation program in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. You’ll be deeply embedded in local cultures and help bridge understanding and protection of species in conflict with humans based on diminishing habitats.


Priderock Wildlife Refuge in Terrell, Texas needs volunteers to help provide an ideal enviroenment for their big cats. Groundskeeping, maintenance & repair, food prep as well as fundraising and development work are some areas you can work supporting and caring for confiscated and surrendered exotic cats.

Conservation Africa has a Lion Conservation Experience in Kruger National Park in South Africa, working to reverse human injustices like captivity, canned lion hunts, cub cuddling for tourists, and farming lions for the bone trade. Discover more at

Call to Crafters: Knit Sweaters for Penguins

flippenUPDATE: Yep, folks, the comment in the discussion section is correct. The need for penguin sweaters was met. You may put down your needles…or, a quick Google search for “Knit for charity” yields tons of resources, from making blankets for newborns with HIV/AIDS to helping the homeless and comforting wounded veterans. If you’re a knitter and have already sweatered and scarved your family and friends, don’t give up the hobby…extend your reach. Here is a link to just one of many lists of organizations and initiatives looking for volunteer knitters:


OK, it seems like a cute overload meme to brighten your first day back at work…or an Etsy promo…but this adorable call for volunteers is no joke. While the crisis has passed, awareness and action (as well as vigilance) are still, and always, required.

Skeinz yarn shop in New Zealand is hoping knitters from far and wide will keep clicking those needles to make tiny sweaters for penguins who were endangered by a devastating oil spill. Not so much to keep the little birds warm, but to help keep them from poisoning themselves when they preen and groom naturally, until they can be cleaned and rid of the oil sticking to their feathers. It’s like penguins-sweatersyour dog’s veterinary “cone of shame” (Elizabethan collar) to keep it from licking injuries–but a heck of a lot more fun. There are very specific directions for knitting the sweaters: size, number of rows and stitches, finishing off the collar, etc. on their website.  If there is an overflow of goodwill knit goods, they will be used as a fundraising tool (with stuffed animal mascot penguins) to support the Penguin Rescue Fund.

Volunteering While Visiting Maui

Sparky--a Maui Humane Society shelter dog, adopted in Oregon, through Wings of Aloha

Sparky–a Maui Humane Society shelter dog, adopted in Oregon, through Wings of Aloha

I’m so excited that the island of Maui is cracking open some new volunteer opportunities. I am visiting Maui in a couple of of months (can’t wait!) and love that this new program is launching. The Maui Humane Society has created two new programs for visitors to help out at the animal shelter to support rescue programs, and even provide ways for travelers to be of service to rescues on their way home.

Lots of folks stop in to the shelter while on vacation, simply to be around the dogs and cats while they feel pet-deprived being away from home. The shelter sees almost 10,000 animals a year, so there is never enough lovin’ to go around–local volunteers help fill the gap. Well now, vacationing volunteers can also pitch in with the Helping Paws Visitor Program on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. After an orientation, you will jump into fun stuff like dog walking, bathing puppies, brushing cats, and playing with the younger animals to help them get better socialized. Aw, what a burden–to spend an afternoon playing with puppies and kittens! If you want to get your hands a bit dirtier in service, there are also opportunities for maintenance and gardening help, cleaning, and office work. All of it helps these homeless critters have a better life (and supports the shelter’s important adoption and rescue programs, plus say and neuter clinics, cruelty investigations, and humane education).

When it is time to fly home, you can also play a unique role in rescuing and adoption. The Wings of Aloha Program pairs travelers who are willing to have an animal transport accompany them on their flight–these are pets who are going to adoptable programs in the mainland Unites States and Canada. As an island community, Maui has more animals than homes, and they regularly place animals in adoption programs elsewhere, where they can find great “forever home” placements. In the past several months, 200 adoptions of Maui animals have been completed in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Canada through this program. It is costly to fly an animal unaccompanied, but paired with a ticketed passenger, the price goes down significantly. You needn’t pay this price–all you do is contact the office at the Maui Humane Society in advance to confirm your flight plans, then just show up for your plane home. An MHS volunteer will meet you at the Kahului Airport, and will handle the check-in of the pet (they won’t be flying with you in the cabin). The partner agency will pick up and handle the pet at your destination airport, so it is trouble-free for you–you simply lend your name and ticketed presence to save a life. SOOOO COOL!!!!!

Great ways to make a complex system more workable–I’m really proud of this organization, and hope you’ll consider supporting them now, and definitely pitching in when you vacation in Maui.