Article by Robin Van Auken on Volunteer Forever

Big Cat Conservation isn’t a topic they teach you at school. If you want to learn how to work with these complex wild animals and preserving the endangered species of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, then this is an amazing opportunity to take control of your education and go into the field.

The term “big cat” refers to the four largest members of the Panthera genus: the tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard. This definition has been expanded to include the snow leopard, puma, clouded leopard, Sunda clouded leopard, and cheetah, although these species do not roar like the four big cats. Big cats are “apex predators,” which mean they are at the top of a food chain – no other animals hunt the big cat, except humans. And it’s because of human-animal conflict that the big cats are endangered. The primary threats to big cats are habitat destruction and poaching, both caused by people.


An animal sanctuary, park, or reserve provides a refuge for these big cats to live out their lives in safety, but these facilities are expensive and difficult to maintain. They rely upon the assistance of researchers and volunteers to monitor and improve the health of the population, sustain the environment, and to educate the nearby community to alleviate the human threat.

When you travel abroad on a volunteer conservation program – to the rainforests of Costa Rica, to the savannas of Africa, or the jungles of India and Malaysia – you’ll work with a team of researchers who are monitoring current big cat populations. You can help them as they develop solutions to save habitats by educating communities, eradicating poaching, and enforcing sustainable practices. You’ll learn how to track animals in the wild, using sophisticated monitoring equipment and cameras, and identifying different species by their prints and spoor.

If you’re eager to learn more about big cat conservation, keep reading! Select a big cat or a destination that interests you and help save a species.


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