Sadly, penguins are some of the most endangered animals in the world. You have likely heard about the polar caps melting. This is certainly having an effect on penguins as well, since global warming is beginning to destroy their natural habitats. Hence, penguin conservation programs all over the world are doing their part to save penguins from becoming extinct. If you would also like to help out, you can become a penguin conservation volunteer. In what follows, we will tell you what you need to know about this kind of voluntary work. Read on to find out if becoming a penguin conservation volunteer abroad might be right for you.
Why are penguins in danger?
You are needed as a penguin conservation for several reasons. However, climate change is certainly having the most dramatic impact on the worldwide penguin population. Some penguin conservation experts even estimate that penguin populations have decreased by as much as 80 percent in some regions. One of the biggest problems are rising temperatures, which threaten the natural habitats of penguins. Thus, your work as a penguin conservation volunteer will also require you to do your part to slow down or stop climate change altogether.
Most penguin conservation work focuses on Antarctica and parts of Africa, where Emperor and African penguins live. In Antarctica, the annual sea-ice melting season is now several weeks longer than it used to be. For penguins, this not only means that their habitat is shrinking in size. Instead, their food sources are starting to dwindle, too. Unfortunately, this further means that these penguins will be a lot less likely to reproduce, wherefore the overall population numbers continue to decline. This is catastrophic news for all penguin conservation activists and volunteers. Sadly, the following threats to penguins are also all too real:
- Natural predation (e.g. by fur seals, sea lions, leopard seals, orcas and sharks)
- Oil spills
- Illegal/ unregulated egg harvesting
- A growing human population (competition for food)
What will be expected of you as a volunteer in penguin conservation?
If you are thinking about engaging in this kind of voluntary work, you should know some of the requirements of penguin conservation volunteering. Since penguin conservation is part of marine conservation, you will definitely be stationed somewhere near the ocean. In particular, the following regions are known for their penguin conservation programs:
Apart from English, no additional language skills will be required for most penguin conservation programs. While special veterinary skills are a plus, they are by no means a must either. Of course, you should have an interest in working with penguins and be open to learning new skills. Anypenguin conservation program that you might join will likely involve some sort of training. Through this training, you will get a chance to become acquainted with the following tasks, which will likely be expected of you:
- Cleaning the penguin pens
- Preparation of food (fish)
- Teaching classes/ educating the local population
- Monitoring the local penguin population
- Data entry and other office tasks