World Unite! Volunteering, Internships, Cultural Travel

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Volunteering and internship at bear protection program and nature tours in Japan

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At Asasama Wildlife Protected Area (75 minutes per bullet train from Tokyo) we arrange volunteer and internship placements related to bear conservation and ecotourism.

There are around 160 Asian black bears living in the forests around the town of Karuizawa. The bears regulary come to town where they pose a threat to humans. In the past, the bears were hunted for this reason. The bear conservation organisation has therefore equipped many of the bears with radio collars which allow to track the movements of the bears. If a bear comes too close to town, a rapid reaction team moves out with a specially trained Karelian Bear dog, whose barking is pushing the bear back inside the forest. As a volunteer or intern, you help to track the bears‘ movements, to move out with the dog, to catch bears and equip them with radio collars, to free bears that were accidentially caught in deer traps, and to inform tourists and school classes about bears and nature.

There are also nature tours where you accompany and assist the guides. It is very popular for children to observe the Japanese Giant Flying Squirrels („Musasabi“) which are 80 cm (31 inch) large and can glide for up to 160 m (520 feet) from tree to tree. The placement is possible in English and accommodation of good standards is provided free of charge.

Find more details about this placement on the World Unite! Website:


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