Rebecca arrived as a lion conservation volunteer during my 2nd week at Antelope Park and I had the opportunity to work alongside her for the majority of my last week volunteering with the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT). We spent much of the week laughing and joking as we worked alongside the beautiful animals and spent the evenings huddled up around the campfire. As with many of the people who volunteer at Antelope Park, her dedication to the cause became apparent within a few days. It’s very difficult to spend your time living and breathing animal conservation work without completely falling head over heels for the cause, and like all the other volunteers I’ve showcased in this “Meet a Lion Conservation Volunteer” series, Rebecca is no different. We’ve all walked away with a sense of becoming one with one of the world’s greatest predators and impassioned to fight for the lions.
Meet Lion Conservation Volunteer: Rebecca Ophus
Rebecca Ophus is a twenty year old student from Norway, who is studying to work with animal and environmental welfare. In the meantime she travels as often as she can, and loves it!
1. How did you find out about ALERT & Antelope Park?
I found the project through a Norwegian work and travel company called Go X-plore. I was recommended the site from a friend.
2. Why did you choose voluntourism as a way to spend your vacation time?
I wanted to do and experience something different for my summer vacation that I would remember for the rest of my life. Animals have always been a big part of my life, and I feel it’s my time to start giving something back to them now that I can and now that they need us – that’s why I volunteered at Antelope Park to work with the lions, and also the reason I want to help their cause in the future.
3. What is your favourite memory of your time at Antelope Park?
Definitely waking up by the lions roaring in the background, and the morning walks with them. I also enjoyed meeting a lot of cool people from all over the world.
4. What was your favourite activity and why?
The lionwalks. It’s really fascinating being around these huge fantastic animals, and being accepted as a part of their pride. Seeing them live their lives and just be around them is amazing – especially when we are running after them in the wild as they were hunting zebras and wildebeest up close! What a rush!
And I have to admit, I actually enjoyed shovelling their shit from time to time.
5. Were there any aspects of the volunteer program at Antelope Park that you felt could be improved?
I really enjoyed my time there, and I’m definitely going back some day. But I think they could improve by arranging more social activities with the volunteers and staff. It would be nice to have had more chances to do something cool and fun things together, considering that we had such a short time getting to know each other. Also, they could balance the dirty works and the pleasant work a bit more, at a point it went over 3 days before I got to see and be with the lions again. Except from that, it was all perfect!
6. What did your time at Antelope Park teach you that you didn’t already know?
I got more perspective on the world, being around so many different people and cultures, and how important it is to make a change. The animals really need us now!
7. Going forward, in what ways will you continue to support and advocate for the plight of the lion?
I’m going to donate money for the project from time to time – hopefully going back soon! Also I’m a mentor and give monthly money to the animal- and environmental welfare organization, WWF.
Check out some other wonderful lion conservation volunteers: