Wildlife ACT, an award-winning conservation organisation that utilises volunteers to help track and monitor endangered wildlife, has been certified by Fair Trade Tourism.
Wildlife ACT advances conservation efforts by managing wildlife monitoring projects on game reserves that lack the resources or know-how to implement their own monitoring programmes. The organisation was founded in 2008 by Johan Maree, Chris Kelly and Dr Simon Morgan as a way of ensuring sustainable, long-term, wildlife monitoring and conservation projects.
Wildlife ACT runs a wildlife volunteer program enabling volunteers to get an authentic and hands-on wildlife experience while making a genuine contribution to conservation on nationally proclaimed and parks. Says Wildlife ACT co-founder Chris Kelly: “In KwaZulu-Natal, we are 100% reliant on the support of our conservation volunteers, who assist in the daily tracking of endangered wildlife species such as wild dogs, cheetah and black rhino, as well as priority species such as elephants, lions, leopards and vultures. Our volunteers get far more than the typical safari experience by playing an active role in real conservation efforts.” Many Wildlife ACT Volunteers get the opportunity to experience behind-the-scenes conservation work including the collaring, tagging, relocation and reintroduction of endangered and priority wildlife.
Wildlife Act currently manages projects in five wildlife reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, as well as a project in North Island, Seychelles. The organisation was awarded second place at the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards in the Best for Habitat and Species Conservation category and is supported by prominent wildlife NGOs such as WWF, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Panthera and Wildlands Conservation Trust.
Jane Edge, MD of Fair Trade Tourism, said the growth of the volunteer sector had increased the need to distinguish genuine conservation operators from those practising commercial voluntourism without real conservation benefit. “We have a high regard for Wildlife ACT’s contribution to conservation and are thrilled that they are now able to display the Fair Trade Tourism mark,” she said.
Read more: Fair Trade Tourism’s Wildlife Petting Policy