Snakes chasing baby iguanas! A leopard eating a crocodile! A bunch of flamingos walking like constipated nerds! Over the last few weeks the BBC’s Planet Earth 2 has been a non-stop thrill ride, a paean to the natural wonders of the Earth, and the finest travel inspiration anyone could ask for.
Volunteering with animals is one of the most rewarding things you can do while travelling, and there are many ongoing conservation efforts to protect the animals featured on Planet Earth 2. To help you get involved we’ve partnered with Frontier to help you book the volunteering and conservation experience of a lifetime.
Episode 1 – Islands
The highlight of the first episode of the series was a Caribbean sloth, roused from its indolence and forced to swim through the ocean for some private time with a distant lady sloth.
The islands of the Caribbean are home to a range of awesome, delicate eco-systems in need of a great deal of care. While it doesn’t promise lascivious sloths, the Belize Marine Conservation & Diving placement gives you the chance to work on long term, sustainable marine research and conservation efforts with a range of animals.
Plus, in your time off, you get to hang out on Caribbean beaches. It really is win-win.
Episode 2 – Mountains
Humans tend to think of mountains as treacherous, forbidding places, but a huge range of wildlife (carefully adapted to not falling to a messy death) calls them home. If a certain part of you didn’t clench as the baby ibex clambered across that sheer cliff face, you might not have a soul.
Most regions featured in the episode are so difficult to access that you can’t volunteer there directly, but the Central America Ethical Adventure leads you on an adventure through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, working with many similar creatures: big cats, primates, turtles, and more.
Just don’t fall off anything.
Episode 3 – Jungles
Dolphins, capybaras, monkeys... this episode was an eclectic collection of exotic animals to kick your wanderlust into high gear. Hugging a capybara should feature on any travel bucket list.
There’s a good chance of meeting plenty of the featured wildlife on the South America Ethical Adventure Trail, as well as seeing Machu Picchu, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon River, every step of the journey ethically sound.
Taking a selfie with a capybara is ethical, right?
Episode 4 – Deserts
Madagascar is an island of abundant, unique wildlife, and this episode proved it. Even if you don’t want to go chasing a 20-square mile locust swarm, it’s a must-visit for any animal lover.
It’s the only place in the world to find some 94 species of lemur, and the Wildlife Conservation Adventure offers the chance to meet them, while helping conservation efforts to protect their habitats in Madagascar. You’ll also meet local people and enjoy stunning landscapes like nowhere else in the world.
Fancy it? Better move it, move it.
Episode 5 – Grasslands
Looking at your back garden, who’d have thought your lawn could be so interesting? Grasslands are vital to all kinds of wildlife, be it big (lions, rhinos, elephants) or small (oh god, the ants).
South East Asia might not have featured in the episode, but it’s home to many of the same creatures. The South East Asia Ethical Adventure gives you the chance to travel in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, home to tigers, elephants, monkeys, and more, visiting bucket list destinations like Bangkok and Angkor Wat along the way.
Just look out for ants in your pants.
Who knows what episode 6 will bring?