Volunteer service in the Zoo was launched in 2012. It was created as a component of the Action Plan of the Educational Program for Marketing and Promotion of Zoo Garden Bitola. Additional services and products draw a new population to the zoo and enhance the experience for the standard zoo audience. The services provided by an active volunteer corps in zoos today are vital in contemporary zoos, creating new contexts for the passive but fundamental zoo experience – observing animals. Further, services and products through the potential of a dynamic volunteer program offer the opportunity to educate the general population, and to promote and protect existing biodiversity.
The main objective of volunteer service in Bitola ZOO is to implement the activities described in the Educational Program, and to allow by nature of the direct relationship with visitors, to enlarge the program based on perceived needs and wishes of the visitors. As an example, dialogue between the volunteers and guests can lead to knowledge-sharing about promotion and protection of natural resources. Visitors will take away additional information and understanding of the importance of biodiversity and such knowledge will permeate through their family and friends to a broader social base...
To fulfill this purpose, members of the voluntary service system along with the zoo staff and a team of experts are developing educational programs. Five thematic tours are available daily to the visitors. These themes are organized in relation to the animals residing in the Bitola Zoo.
In addition to the educational tours, Zoo volunteers actively promote the Zoo by developing and implementing a calendar of activities at the Zoo, by communicating with related institutions and establishing cooperation with zoo staff. All these activities are geared to attracting more visitors and enhancing the experience of visitors. The increased awareness of the average zoo guest about animals and their needs indirectly enhances the lives of zoo animals.
Currently, the Voluntary service includes four members working in two shifts; from 09:00 to 13:00 and the second shift from 16:00 to 20:00.
Voluntary service open to all interested. The most important prerequisites are a respect and appreciation for animals and a desire to engage with visitors in a positive friendly manner.
For candidates who are selected to be volunteers, the zoo provides orientation training to facilitate fulfillment of their responsibilities, consisting of three modules:
- Marketing and promotion
- Public Relations
The voluntary commitment provides the satisfaction to the volunteer of knowing that their efforts improve conditions in the community for people, animals and ecology. Valuable experience in improving their communication skills, to acquire access to a wide body of knowledge in zoology, botany and related sciences, and to meet new people. The volunteer is a member of a team of motivated people with similar goals, enlarging the social opportunities for participants. Everybody interested for voluntary work should contact the Zoo management for information on becoming a part of the Voluntary Service at the Zoo.