Project Walter Mitty

Monika Lapka Start Date: Sep 12, 2016 - End Date: Jan 11, 2017
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Professional Development
  • Volunteer Trip
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam
  • Nepal
  • China

My Travel Story

by: Monika Lapka Start Date: Sep 12, 2016 - End Date: Jan 11, 2017
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Professional Development
  • Volunteer Trip
This is my project to live life and do something amazing

There are many animal species in the world that need a significant amount of help and support, some you may not have heard of yet. Unfortunately a great number of these species do not get a lot of recognition and attention as by many they are not perceived as attractive and/or relatable to humans.

Do you know of the pangolin? If no then you should definitely Google it, right now! They are absolutely fascinating! Pangolins are the most traded animal in the world for their scales, for medicinal reasons, as well as for food. Save Vietnam's Wildlife a non-profit organisation in Cuc Phuong National Park houses, rehabilitates and releases rescued Pangolins, as well as other small carnivores. Their vision is to support entire species populations and ensure secured habitats. In the last 8 months a total of 75 Sunda Pangolins have been released back into the Wild by Save Vietnam's Wildlife.

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is another organisation doing incredible work. The centre houses over 40 rescued ex-captive Malayan sun bears. The main threats to the sun bears are forest degradation, poaching to obtain young cubs for the pet trade, and illegal hunting for bear parts such as their gall bladders (for use in Chinese folk medicine) and bear paws (an expensive delicacy). In China and Vietnam, bile is milked from bears while they are still alive and sadly bears are often restocked due to their lives being cut short. Killing sun bears is illegal in all of their native counties but is largely uncontrolled.  

And don't even get me started on red pandas! The original panda.

I am travelling to a number of different animal conservation organisations to volunteer, offering my zoo keeping skills and knowledge in animal science to help make a difference. These organisations are doing remarkable work such as rehabilitating captive animals and releasing them back into the wild, providing homes to threatened animals, and undertaking research to improve such habitats allowing the species who reside their to successfully survive and flourish.

This is only just a snap shot of the work these incredible organisations do.

These are the amazing places I will be volunteering with:

Gibbon Rehabilitation Project - Phuket, Thailand
Marine Conservation Cambodia - Kep Province, Cambodia
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre - Sabah, Malaysia
Save Vietnam's Wildlife - Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam
Endangered Primate Rescue Centre - Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam
The Red Panda Trust - Kathmandu, Nepal
Animals Asia - Cheng Du, China

Most of these centres are small grass-root organisations relying solely on donations and volunteers such as myself.

Every little bit helps

  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam
  • Nepal
  • China