Vinay Datla is the new volunteer coordinator for Wildlife SOS. This is a new program for Wildlife SOS and we are excited to be launching it in March. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Vinay who will be heading up this program.
Vinay, how did you get interested in working for Wildlife SOS?
I recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering and then took a job with a software firm in Bangalore. My birthday came very soon after starting my new job and I celebrated it by visiting Bannerghata National Park. This is when I first got exposed to Wildlife SOS because Wildlife SOS runs a bear rescue center right outside of the park. I wrote down the organization’s website and studied up on the projects including ‘the dancing bear’ issue. I became quite passionate about following the facebook and twitter posts to see what was happening and if there were any job opportunities. Eventually, a position became available. I interviewed with Wildlife SOS and I was offered the position. The very next day I boarded a train to Delhi to work for Wildlife SOS.
You are the first volunteer coordinator for Wildlife SOS, what do you hope to achieve?
I hope to create a volunteer experience that is both rewarding and fulfilling for those who want to help animals in India. For people who come from other countries, I would like them to leave with a very positive impression of India. Ultimately, I would love for people who have volunteered with Wildlife SOS to consider it to be one of the best experiences of their life and to have memories that they will cherish for a lifetime.
Have you worked with volunteers before?
I personally have not organized volunteers before. However, I have been a volunteer myself for a lot of different projects throughout my life. Therefore, I am able to understand what a volunteer needs and have seen firsthand how a highly organized volunteer program can make a positive impact for an organization.
What kind of jobs will you have the volunteers do?
At the bear centers volunteers will help clean dens and enslosures, build new bear enrichments and work with the veterinarians doing observations and post-op check ups on rescued animals. There is also the opportunity to work with elephants. The volunteers who work in this area will help with bathing them and feeding them.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I love to watch documentary films of all different types. I also like to just be out in nature photographing wildlife and taking nature videos. Someday, I hope to visit New Guines and Madagascar to see the wildlife in those countries. I am also addicted to the game of cricket.
You have an engineering degree, how does your education help you with your current job?
I am really good at finding solutions to new problems and challenges, I think I get that from my engineering training. I approach a problem from a very different angle, so as part of a team, I can give a completely different perspective. I love to meet and socialize with a lot of different people. In that way I don’t fit the stereotypical description of an engineer. This also makes me very well suited for my current role.
You are currently working out of the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, what is your favorite thing about working from there?
There are two things that come to mind. First, I of course enjoy watching the bears. The bears are really charismatic, but I can be touched to the point of tears when I see them sleeping. The rescued bears sleep in so many interesting positions and places. I can watch them for hours just resting. The second thing I love about the facility is the variety of people I meet from all over the world. I love to hear their stories of how they heard about us and love to see how they respond to seeing the bears.
If you are interested in volunteering for Wildlife SOS, please contact Vinay at email@example.com