An Insider's Guide to Travel: News, Tips, Information & Inspiration

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Animal Voluntourism

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It’s one thing to travel to see exotic animals. But what if you could give back and get some hands-on experiences at the same time?

Let’s start with Bolivia. At an animal rehabilitation center called Inti Wara Yassi, volunteers can actually “adopt” a jaguar.

Inside a 2,000-acre jungle, you get assigned a rescue jaguar that you can take for walks every day. And, it’s affordable—about $300 a month including room and board, and a guide to show you the ropes.

If you prefer to be a little more hands-off, the same program in Bolivia also has construction projects and other volunteer opportunities in the Amazon.

In Zimbabwe, African Impact offers lion rehabilitation programs in a private game farm.

Visitors pay about $2,000 for two weeks, which includes three meals a day and accommodations.

Volunteers can help feeding the lions and bottle-feeding the cubs, assist with tracking and research, and other cleaning and maintenance projects.

And in Kona, the Three-Ring Ranch Animal Sanctuary is the only licensed exotic animal center in Hawaii. Visitors can arrange volunteer experiences in advance to help out with work projects for a day or two.

No prior experience is necessary, and you may end up working around animals like zebras, reptiles and native Hawaiian creatures.

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