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Make a Difference Have you 'made a difference' while travelling, by fundraising or donating time and energy to a worthwhile cause such as wildlife conservation or tsunami reconstruction efforts? Tell us how you did it, what the experience was like, and how others can help. Are you a non-profit organisation or individual who knows of an opportunity for travellers to help out in a less developed country? Tell us about it and provide contact details here.
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  #1  
Old 15 Jun 2009
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Is there help for animals in 3rd world countries?

Recently travelling in Central America I ran into dogs at the borders that were close to death and just looking for a drink of water. I saw some of the worst suffering of animals on my travels in Central America, especially Guatemala and Costa Rica, though I'm sure suffering is an equal opportunity thing down here. There are plenty of strays in the U.S. that are suffering but not to the degree I saw down here. With no "Humane" Society or animal shelters, the side of the road or a parking lot ends up being where they spend their last breaths. It is very disheartening to say the least. Wondering if anyone is aware of any organizations that could be donated to that help these animals? Whether international ones or other. Part of the function of my blogging site for my trip was hopefully to be able to ask people to send something to a charity simply for reading my blog if they can afford it. After all there's plenty of people writing books and charging people to read about our travels. Many of us do it for free with our blogging sites. Raising awareness to causes of the countries we visit is one way to give back for what those countries give us. I hate to think any of us view getting thru these countries simply as another speed bump to get around to get on with our journey. And say we've been there did that......There are people and animals that have needs there as well. Their lives and cultures enrich us all, and their patience and tolerance allow us to pass and experience a wonderful journey. Travelling with respect for those we visit I think is very important, and its important for the traveller coming behind you.....
Good Travels to all, and if there are good charities or animal shelters that could be donated to in CA please post.....
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  #2  
Old 17 Jun 2009
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There's many animal orgs. Go to: World Animal Net Directory by Country and click on the region of the world you're interested in. Careful not to judge animals in other countries as you would animals in the states. Yes, there are many that are suffering. But many do spend their lives free, whereas America's shelter system culls 4 million plus animals a year. It's just done quietly so people don't see it happening.

IMO, the needs of animals in developing countries is very different. Instead of finding homes for dogs for example, money and time needs to be invested in TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release). When there's less dogs on the streets, they're less of a 'nuisance' and cities are then less likely to put down poison or kill by other means.

If you want to help animals in a specific area of Costa Rica, email me and I can probably help. I lived there for a year.
Good luck~!
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  #3  
Old 15 Jul 2009
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I can suggest some, not in CA, but in SEA.

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, take a ride to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. If it's still largely looked after by WildAid, then it'll still be good. 2-3 years ago when I was there, it was amazing - so many of Asia's endangered animals there and the habitat must be good cos the animals were breeding well. Animals are released whenever possible, really. It's 1 hour on highway 2 south of Phnom Penh and there's a long sandy track in to the entrance.

Still in Cambodia, if you ever decide to do irrawaddy dolphin watching in Kratie, PLEASE make the boatman stop the engines 100m from where the dolphins are, when approaching AND leaving the site. Unfortunately, this rule is not enforced by any of the "official" authorities there so please be the enforcements yourself. Otherwise the boats just keep chasing and harassing the dolphins to please their guests for the tips (boat tickets are sold at a counter, so the boatmen don't actually get cash from passengers)

Bokor Hill makes for a great short off-road ride up. Easy but nice. Conservation here is also looked after by WildAid.

Now Vietnam:
Please follow the designated paths when visiting national parks and nature reserves. Don't believe organisations that tout themselves as eco-tourist friendly whilst still going on the unbeaten track. There is at least 1 I know who takes people rock-climbing in the habitat of the world's most endangered primate.

Do NOT drink the 'potent' wines brewed with wildlife or consume the wildlife fare. This is a country that still eats dogs regularly, so you can imagine the state of its wildlife, for whatever that's left.

Thailand:
Please do NOT patronise begging elephants, elephant painting shows or elephant rides.

In Thailand, elephants are tried in what is known as a crush, where the elephant is placed into a small wooden cage, beaten, jabbed, starved till they give up. Many elephants are drugged and overworked. The seats on the elephants' backs actually cause a strain esp. if they do not get a rest and the seats are not removed.

An elephant needs 250kg food a day and in the wild forage for 18 hours. It's never going to be enough for a working elephant.

When in Chiangmai, say for the Chiangmai Bike Week?, go to Elephant Nature Foundation. It's about 1 hour out from the city, up a hill with the valley on one side. There's an office in the city. Elephant Nature Foundation. This is where elephants are not chained up, do not perform tricks, no bullhooks are used on them. They just frolic around as they are. This is also a place on the forefront of positive training as opposed to negative training.

There's also a similar sanctuary new Ayuthaya. Elephant Sanctuary - Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand - BLES
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Old 15 Jul 2009
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+1 for the Elephant Nature Foundation- I went to visit and found it to be a wonderful place with happy elephants
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Old 15 Jul 2009
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Want to organise a charity ride there during the Chiangmai bike week? The owners of big bikes in Thailand are well-heeled and the well-heeled must be drawn to know the real plight of their beloved icon.

Anyway, these 2 are the only legitimate elephant sanctuaries I know in Thailand. The official Thai conservation centre in Lampang is only in namesake. They chain sick ellies in the forests, openly condone the crush and make $ out of forcibly making their elephants paint and play music.

There is value and real education & entertainment! in watching the animals as they are, not as a commodity like what most children first experience.
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  #6  
Old 5 Nov 2009
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re: Is there help for animals in 3rd world countries?

I have found the best groups are the local groups -- based in-country or partnering with an organization in the USA, Europe, etc. For instance, in Afghanistan, I found a dog shelter and animal hospital run by Mayhew International, and I have donated to them and encouraged friends to do so. I found a similar group for Peru, Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education Safety , via VolunteerMatch. What I like about these kind of groups is that they are working to encourage people in those country to spay and neuter their pets, they are providing low-cost clinics, they are training local vet techs, and they are trying to change local attitudes about strays -- all in addition to helping strays. It takes a lot of looking for these kinds of groups, but they can be found.

As for me, I fell apart several times in Southern Italy, Romania and Afghanistan over the condition and treatment of dogs and cats. It was soul-shattering. It's something that I think motorcycle riders are acutely aware of, maybe more than other travelers.
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