Visitor Melanie Furniss shares her experience volunteering with Corbin Local Wildlife Park in 2018. Adapted from an original post by Corbin Local Wildlife Park.

Set in a lush forest with ponds full of water lilies, deep pink and bright blue flowers lead you from the classroom to the bird hide. Here you will discover a huge selection of local birds feasting and communing, especially at feeding time.

Corbin Local Wildlife Park project in Tobago is a ‘breed and release’ programme, meaning that species like the nine-banded armadillo that are either Endangered or already extinct on the island have a chance to be reintroduced in a safe and integrated environment in a large enclosure within the forest. If deemed safe for their survival, they are then released back into the forest park, which has a boundary fence enclosing five acres.

Nine-banded armadillo or ‘tattoo’, one of the species that Corbin Local reintroduces. Photo courtesy of Corbin Local Wildlife.

Volunteering at Corbin Wildlife Park has been an amazing experience for me. I came from Ireland already knowing about the incredible work that Ian and Lynn Wright do both in Ireland and now in Tobago. Their teaming up with local man Roy Corbin was the catalyst for this project to be born, and what a project it is!

If you’re tempted to volunteer at Corbin Local, you could find yourself involved in many different activities. Creating new paths through the park is a pleasure to do as the soil is so rich, the biodiversity so varied and the satisfaction of linking one area to another is just brilliant.

I also helped clear a scrubland area that was pastureland at one time. Once the scrub is cleared and stacked, light returns to the site and within weeks, grass grows, native flowers flourish and a ‘butterfly haven’ is born.

Monarch butterfly. Photo courtesy of Corbin Local Wildlife.

Cages need building, food needs collecting and distributing, the team needs feeding and another cold shower is awaiting. Trips out to shop combined with a snorkel in pristine oceans makes for another perfect day in paradise.

Volunteering has been a fabulous experience for me at age 50, so don’t let age influence you. The rhythm here is Caribbean style, after all!

Green iguana. Photo courtesy of Corbin Local Wildlife.

What Corbin Local has achieved in three and a half years is mind-blowing, so if volunteering is not your thing please come visit to support these passionate people and the animals they’re protecting. You will learn such a lot on the guided tour about both animals and plants and be entertained along the way.

Discover more about Corbin Local and their Animal Enclosures tour, which gets you up close to Tobago wildlife including ‘tattoos’ (armadillos), iguanas, birds, manicous and agoutis.

Main image: Manicou with young, courtesy of Corbin Local Wildlife.