The scenic island of Zakynthos has attracted numerous package tourists and is battling to cope with the huge summer influx of bodies, waste, traffic, noise, litter and pollution. Tourism is fast taking over from other more traditional industries such as the production of raisins and olive oil. The tourist industry provides a far more lucrative way of life to the locals yet its exploitation is to the detriment of wildlife and countryside.
There are huge amounts of rubbish and waste being dumped on the beaches and in the forests, the popularity of hunting is causing a rapid decline in numbers of migrating birds, and Loggerhead sea turtles and Mediterranean monk seals, both endangered, are extremely affected by the presence of mass tourism, as people and development encroach upon and spoil their natural habitats.
Eco-Tourism is the best way to encourage locals and tourists alike to change their attitudes and habits. Promoting tourism year round, informing the public, encouraging ethical conduct, and lobbying for the Greek government to act on these important issues will help immobilize this limitless destruction.
Our aim is to show how conservation and sustainable tourism can work together benefiting visitors, locals and wildlife alike. Our Sea Turtle Rescue Station is projected for completion in the near future (you can donate to help us reach our goal here). This incredibly important initiative will form the basis of education and protection to visitors and locals alike, whilst providing an hands-on and up close experience of the threats and issues that endangered species face throughout Greece and the Mediterranean.
The aim of this volunteering programme is to show how conservation and sustainable tourism can work together to benefit tourists, the locals and wildlife alike. When you come to do voluntary work on Zakynthos, you will be part of a small team who research and record the affects of tourism on the local environment, provide information on the local flora and fauna to visitors, rescue injured animals and participate in beach and forest cleans. This warm and lush island is a haven for all sorts of wildlife, the forests a stopover for migrating birds, the beaches a favoured nesting destination of the Loggerhead sea turtle, and the home of over 6,000 species of rare and delicate flowers.
If you are interested in volunteering with us here on Zakynthos, you can find out what our volunteers do, how much it costs, where you’ll stay, and the requirements to participate. You can also download our application form.