Top 7 Big Cat Programs Around the Globe
March 04, 2016 by Sarah Lafontaine
Love cats? Love travel? Want to know how you can combine the two?
If you’re similar to past participants of these programs, you likely have a passion for globetrotting and a love for felines. There are some great programs out there but it can be hard to weed through all of the options and know which ones are making serious impacts. I’ve put together a list of the 7 programs that are making strides in the active conservation of our planet’s sacred cats:
Set in the jungles of Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, this program offers participants the opportunity to be part of research and other conservation efforts to better understand the effects humans have on the declining jaguar population. Participants will search for signs of jaguars by setting up cameras and taking part in surveys. As part of understanding the Costa Rican rainforest as a whole, participants will also join other conservation efforts with GVI involving sea turtles and aquatic birds.
Big Cat Wildlife Research & Conservation in Kenya – African Impact
The Masai Mara area of Kenya has seen drastic loss of wildlife due to increased human settlement in recent years. In an effort to better educate visitors and locals alike, participants will assist with research drives to do game counts, document big cat sightings, remove alien species of plants and help with development in the local community. This diverse program with African Impact is a must for cat lovers who want a rewarding experience.
There are hundreds of white lions in captivity, but less than 13 exist in their native habitat. The Global White Lion Protection Trust has created their program to focus on long-term conservation efforts through community involvement, education and sustainable development. Volunteers must have a keen interest in conservation, a passion for wildlife and be adaptable to the changing needs of the program. If you’re interested in the preservation of these precious cats, this is the program for you!
Leopard Surveying in South Africa – Wildlife ACT
KwaZulu-Natal is home to some pretty stunning spotted cats. It is also home to the largest survey of its kind on leopards in the world. Wildlife ACT volunteers provide assistance with the collection of data, managing camera trap sites and more. This is a great chance to see the incredible landscapes and native wildlife from a whole new perspective.
Cheetah Re-introduction Program in Parys, South Africa- African Impact
If you’re looking for a truly unique way to interact with the fastest cats around, this program takes the cake. The 3 phrase program helps re-introduce cheetahs back to the wild. Participants can have the opportunity of hand-raising cheetah cubs teaching them to hunt, providing enrichment and stimulation, monitoring the older cheetahs and more. If you think you can keep up with these fast felines, this is your chance!
Do you have a knack for tracking? This research based program allows you to see the most family oriented large cats in the African wild, lions. Widely known as the only cats that live in groups called “prides”, they will often have up to 40 members made up of primarily females and cubs. Participants will monitor behavior and feeding habits, get involved with a variety of studies, as well as ecological work. Join GVI and get the opportunity to learn about this beautiful species and make a contribution to their long-term survival.
Big 5 Conservation in Eastern Cape, South Africa – Kariega Game Reserve
Edging on the Indian Ocean, this stunning reserve will give you a hands-on experience in conservation management. The program combines conservation, community development, education & theory, giving participants the chance to learn about identification, behavior and habits of the animals . The Kariega Game Reserve is home to leopards and lions, along with other animals. Look forward to an incredible experience and bring home some new skills and a lifetime of memories.