Noëmie and Aleth spent 6 months as EVS volunteers in Parco Faunistico di Piano dell’Abatino, an animal shelter that takes care of local and exotic animal species. Their project was coordinated by Associazione Kora.
This is their story!
From June 2017 to February 2018, we had the opportunity to work for the Parco dell’Abatino Wildlife Park, six months as volunteers of the European Voluntary Service (EVS) and two months as an employee of the park. An experience full of emotions and learning!
The Park and their inhabitants
The Piano dell’Abatino Wildlife Park occupies about ten hectares and is home to about three hundred exotic animals (monkeys, parrots, raccoons) and autochthonous (raptors, wild boars, deer). These animals are taken to the park by the police, forestry or individuals. They are extracted from illegal situations or come as a result of road accidents or hunting accidents. Animals that can not be freed in nature remain in the sanctuary part of the park, others are healed and regain their freedom.
Our daily tasks
As volunteers, our job was to help the park keepers to feed the animals, clean the aviaries, improve the park in general and spread environmental awareness with schools during the release of animals in the wild. Feeding three hundred mouths, taking into account the needs of the species and tastes of each (yes, some animals hate kiwis and zucchini just like us) is a real challenge! Once they finished the meal, we cleaned up and had time to do environmental enrichments!
Discovering Italian culture
The park is located in Poggio San Lorenzo, a small town in the center of Lazio, a region full of natural parks, lakes, archaeological and historical sites. Rome, another inexhaustible source of visits and activities, is only an hour away! In other words, it is difficult to get bored during free days. We also spent a lot of time discovering and tasting Italian cuisine, as cities and streets are full of good restaurants! Our favourites places: the Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri, Tivoli, the Capitoline Museums in Rome, spaghetti with clams and the Sabinese fregnacce. Attention to the cultural shock when you venture on the road, the Italians have a “sportive” way of driving!
Time for an evaluation
Eight months ago it was hard to imagine us at the end of this EVS. Today we can say that the experience was even more beautiful than expected! At a professional level, we have acquired new skills in animal care, environmental enrichment and better organization of teamwork. We also learned Italian and practiced some English because the park team has many different nationalities! We hope to visit the park again in the future and meet new Italian and international volunteers.
Grazie e arrivederci!
Noëmie e Aleth