Category Archives: Volunteering

Virtual volunteering for WildlifeDirect

KTN PRIME News – Save Our Elephants

Last night Kenya Television Network – KTN featured the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign in a story dubbed Save The Elephants during their PRIME Time News at 9m.  We are pleased that the News Anchors wore the Hands Off Our Elephants armbands in solidarity with the drive to Save Our Majestic Elephants @HandsOffOurEles

Watch the full story here…

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A talk on the dark side

The first of many moral quandaries spread through the Handshake camp the other night as they were introduced to what, at first glance, seems like a darker side to conservation; that of allowing hunters into conservancies so they can kill particular animals.

Throughout the expedition, mainly over dinner, staff of the ‘Great Primate Handshake’, are busy encouraging volunteers to discuss practical and theoretical points on conservation in the field. There were, of course, varying views and comments, as thoughts and opinions were thrown around the circle of friends with still no agreement.

The idea is this. In conservancies with no natural predators, animals live a lot longer, their teeth grow too long and are unable to eat, slowly dying of starvation.
So is it right to encourage people to hunt in what primarily is a safe-haven?

There are of course many sides to the argument. Money paid to hunt (from hunter to conservancy) can go to help feed and look after other animals, and the animal is put out of struggling over several days before it dies.
On the other side, are you supporting the hunting trade? Are you further creating an artificial environment? Are you encouraging a natural environment, one of predator and prey?
Many more questions arose, leaving most undecided. So if you have any ideas to help sort out this problem, please do say…

The Great Primate Handshake

The Great Primate Handshake return

Enthusiasm abounds as the big yellow truck once again returns to South Africa on a mission to help a number of primate sanctuaries and conservancies.

1st night of the SA tour


Since its debut expedition in South Africa last year, The Great Primate Handshake arrive having extended this year’s expedition through both Kenya and Uganda with great success, helping create an array of digital media for organizations such as the Colobus Trust, Sweetwaters, Jane Goodall Institute, Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre and Ngamba Island.

Making all this happen is a small team of dedicated conservationists, from lecturers and anthropologists to designers and industry professionals, all who donate their time and money to guide and help volunteers in learning the skills required to produce digital content for conservation efforts in the field.

With a heavy dose of planning and ‘handshaking’, to ensure that all the content produced is of actual benefit and specific to the sanctuaries’ needs, the teams produce films to improve education and raise awareness, interactive software for websites and content for the XO laptop (from the ‘one laptop per child’ project (OLPC)), before handing the finished product over for each organization to use as and when they wish.

The Great Primate Handshake arrive in Klip Kop

As for the South African expedition, the new group of volunteers arrived last night at the Klip Kop reserve just outside of Johannesburg, eager to begin their training before heading off to look at supporting education projects at JGI’s Chimp Eden, the first stop on this expedition.

Don’t hesitate – there is too much to lose

On my way to work this morning I passed through  Nairobi National Park where I met a pride of 5 lions lazing peacefully quite close to the road. As I sat there watching them with my son, I regretted that they were not there two days earlier when I’d taken my brother and his family out to the park.

Lions in Nairobi National Park

His children have never seen lions before. There is a real risk that they may never see wild lions in their life time, after all, there are only 2,100 of these amazing animals remaining in Kenya. The park boundary was just a few hundred meters away, it is simply a muddy stream across which thousands of cattle come every night in search of grazing. I know this because I live right on the edge of the park and so have a first hand view of the challenges facing wildlife here. Last week a cow was killed on a neighboring sanctuary by lions, we spent an entire day removing the carcass for fear that the owner would retaliate against the lions by putting poison on it to kill off the predators.

As I watched this lazy family of lions, I felt the pressure mounting – we don’t have time to waste, we must help wildlife conservation efforts now if our children and grand children are to enjoy them. WildlifeDirect is dedicated to over 100 different conservation efforts across Africa, Asia and South America. Never before has the need been so urgent, we receive several new applications for important new projects every day. To be able to help all these projects, WildlifeDirect must survive this painful economic down turn. I personally believe that any person who visits WildlifeDirect online can help us enormously without necessary leaving a donation, by just taking a little time to use the powers of social media.

I have listed 7 simple things that you can do to help us

1. Vote for what you care about The opportunity to share and spread important wildlife information and expose an enormous number of people interested in helping wildlife. We would like you to share what you learn about us through social media websites that focus on news like some groups on facebook, Digg, Stumble, Reddit, and twitter. The more eyeballs we get on WildlifeDirect, the more funds we can raise.  Our target is an online audience of 2 million people.

2. Take action – it’s so easy.
Wildlife conservation depends greatly on policy changes which are often driven by public demand. You can communicate with your political representative or express yourself to any government by writing a letter or an email, and use the internet to spread the word about all kinds of wildlife issues raised on WildlifeDirect.

3. Help us get into the News You can alert your own local media houses to issues you are particularly concerned about. We have done radio and TV interviews all over the world inspired by readers who have helped us make connections with their local media houses. Getting into the  news, especially online news is hugely valuable to us and costs you nothing but a little time 🙂 – write to your local radio station or newspaper today.

4. Motivate your favourite bloggers
Just leave a comment on your favourite blog posts to tell people that you care and to share your thoughts with the authors. This alone is hugely motivating to those conservationists at the frontlines who are often risking their lives every day to save wildlife. This endorsement keeps the bloggers reporting and the more news we get from the field, the greater the global awareness of what is happening to wildlife in remote and dangerous places.

5. Tell all your friends Use your own social networks to share information about what you care about on WildlifeDirect. Let your friends know by joining our facebook causes, linking to us on your own blog, facebook, myspace, twitter or other networks.
6. Campaign for us Hold your own fund raising campaign to help us – just get creative. Sheryl raised over 300$ on her birthday, we’ve had cake sales, sponsored marathon runners, sponsored events, dinner events, yard sales. Use facebook or any other social website linked to our cause or just make donations on the website.

7. Volunteer online – Select a blog you’d like to help and volunteer a few hours a day towards that blog. Some of our bloggers have very poor internet access and it can take hours to upload one post. Volunteering mostly involves helping with uploading posts and photographs  onto the blogs which frees up valuable field time for the bloggers.

8. Send us your own suggestions – we love hearing from you. Please don’t be shy, send us your ideas, views and suggestions. Email us on [email protected]

Become a Virtual Volunteer for WildlifeDirect

We have recently learned that our bloggers spend up to 8 hours a week writing and posting blogs. This puts a huge amount of strain on them, because we already know that they are all working well over time on a field project in a remote corners of Africa and beyond. In some places internet access is so slow that bloggers email their posts to friends to upload for them and posts can be few, far between and infrequent. To ensure that these bloggers for conservation succeed we need to help them produce more frequent news, to speed up posts or make uploading easier, increase linking and social networking so easy that we don’t eat into precious field conservation time.

We are looking for talented virtual volunteers out there to help support and produce training materials for WildlifeDirect bloggers. If you are passionate about both conservation and social change then consider helping our bloggers, many of whom are out in the field without proper access to the internet.

Volunteering will make you happy

Maybe you have never been to Africa, or met a gorilla face to face, but you may be a walking encyclopedia on blogging and can rattle off tips and tools for all our bloggers. If you fall in love with any of our blogs, and you want to do some social good, and if you are a talented and writer, we want to hear from you. Why should you do this? I have found out from the volunteer genie and the world volunteer web and that vitual volunteering will make you happy and you can do it from home! You will meet new people, make new friends, and as Mike eloquently says, you will make a difference.

What will WildlifeDirect Virtual Volunteers do?

Each Virtual Volunteer will be assigned specifically to help an individual project on WildlifeDirect volunteer bloggers will be responsible for promoting, circulating and networking individual blog posts on relevant sites, creating linkages between blog posts, and perhaps even creating content on a weekly basis. We want volunteers who are obsessed with blogging and can help to achieve success of individual blogs.

Responsibilities of our Virtual Volunteers:

  • Research to support field bloggers identify important opportunities (eg. grants, sponsors, equipment, themes, networks, relevant links and topics.
  • Promoting the blog – Profiling the blog and people or organizations doing the field projects on relevant social networking sites (eg. digg, technorati, myspace etc).
  • Collaborating with the rest of the WildlifeDirect team and bloggers to capture lessons for sharing.
  • Reading and responding to user comments and guiding online conversations in a constructive direction .
  • Working directly with a specific blogger
  • Monitoring the comments on blogs for inappropriate comments, comments that require specific actions and redirecting conversations to the appropriate person

Qualifications of a WildlifeDirect Virtual Volunteer

  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills, (a big plus if you have photography or video skills)
  • Blogging and/or social networking experience (eg. Facebook, Youtube, Goear and other similar sites)
  • A creative mind, with a good ability to find interesting relevant things online,
  • A good sense of humor!
  • A huge network of friends
  • An unwavering passion for wildlife would be really nice

You will need

  • High speed internet
  • 2 – 4 hours per week

Contact us

Write to [email protected]