Africa and Asia Venture Announce the Launch of Two New Gap Year Projects

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Africa and Asia Venture has teamed up with Rainforest Concern and Endangered Wildlife Trust and is inviting school and university leavers to volunteer in Ecuador and Costa Rica for a gap year to remember.

Unfortunately, leatherback turtle eggs are mistakenly believed by some to have potent aphrodisiac power, so they're highly desirable. We want our gap year work in Latin America, with Endangered Wildlife Trust, to make a real and measurable difference in stopping this theft - one that our volunteers will talk to their friends at home about.

Africa and Asia Venture (AV) has teamed up with Rainforest Concern and Endangered Wildlife Trust and is inviting school and university leavers to consider volunteering abroad in the cloud forests of Ecuador and patrolling Caribbean beaches in Costa Rica - serving as 'maternity wards' to the massive leatherback turtles there.

Tim Wynn-Jones of AV stated that: "Someone's got to make a difference and soon. We want our conservation volunteers in Ecuador to see for themselves how the Amazon basin - the 'lungs of the world' - is being destroyed at a rate of 2000 mature trees every minute, and only organisations like Rainforest Concern seem to be doing anything about it."

International volunteers with AV are being invited to spend a month at a time working with some 'poachers turned gamekeepers' - the very people who used to be the main perpetrators of destruction of the forests and its wildlife. "By working alongside Rainforest Concern, they have now discovered that conservation is vital for a healthy rainforest that can provide a very good and sustainable living for their people and they want to spread the word. AV is helping them to do that," said Tim.

In Costa Rica, volunteers on the gap year abroad will assist in the protection and monitoring of hundreds of leatherback turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Andrew Mackenzie, AV's Managing Director, was asked if the presence of untrained volunteers was more of a problem than a help: "No, no, no!" He stated. "Our volunteers work with expert biologists. These magnificent creatures are in real danger."

"Only four in 1,000 make it to adulthood and egg theft is the main problem," he continued. "Unfortunately, leatherback turtle eggs are mistakenly believed by some to have potent aphrodisiac power, so they're highly desirable. We want our gap year work in Latin America, with Endangered Wildlife Trust, to make a real and measurable difference in stopping this theft - one that our volunteers will talk to their friends at home about."    

All of AV's projects are about providing volunteer projects abroad for people with a social conscience. They traditionally work on a 3:1 basis - three times as much volunteer work as play. AV understands that all work and no play…well! "Fun is an essential part of the AV experience and we include travel and a 'safari' in every one of our ventures around the world." Andrew Mackenzie added: "There's little point in travelling to the ends of the earth if you're not going to see a bit of it!"

For more information on AV and the conservation gap year projects please visit http://www.aventure.co.uk or call +44-(0) 1380-729009. Email enquiries to av(at)aventure.co.uk

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Sarah Orchard
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