Here at VulPro, we have many visits from volunteers from right across the globe every year, with many of these volunteers returning to VulPro several times. One of these unique and fantastic humans is Bettina Boemans…
Bettina first came to VulPro in 2012, but has since returned another 5 times. She truly is part of the VulPro family. She has a true passion for vultures, and not only does she physically contribute to their conservation through her global volunteering, but she also raises so much awareness for them through her amazing blog!
Here is a little bit of an inside look into a very special lady, Bettina Boemans:
Hi, I am Bettina Boemans, 35 years old, from Germany and I always had a passion for vultures. Even as a young child, I always wanted to see vultures in the zoo, as there are no wild vultures living in Germany. In “real life” I am mechanical and environmental engineer in a steel production company. In 2010, I started to spend almost all vacations and weekends working with vultures all over the world, mostly as a volunteer.
In 2010, I worked in a Griffon Vulture rescue centre in Croatia (by Goran Susic) and went back there two more times. I also started my German vulture blog (www.geierwelt.blogspot.com) and by now, I wrote almost 1000 posts about my volunteering work, visits in zoos, and many vulture awareness campaigns. Besides this, I have an international facebook page called “fascinated by vultures”.
In 2012, I went to VulPro (established by Kerri Wolter) in South Africa for the first time, and it was a life-changing experience. There I made my plans to take a sabbatical year, and really work with vultures all over world. From October 2012 to September 2013, I spent two month in Ecuador with the Andean Condor, 6 weeks in Mexico with Caty and the California Condors, 6 weeks at Parahawking in Nepal (established by Scott Mason) with Egyptian Vultures, and half a year in South Africa at VulPro, where I did lots of research about the breeding behaviour of captive Cape Vultures. After this vulture year, I returned to my engineering work, but I still spent as much time as possible with vultures.
I supported the Bearded Vulture release in the Alps (with the Vulture Conservation Foundation) in 2014, guarded the nests of Egyptian Vultures in Bulgaria (http://lifeneophron.eu/) in 2015, and spent two weeks ringing the wild born Lappet-faced Vulture chicks in Namibia (Holger Kolberg, Ministry of Environment & Tourism) in 2015. I have experiencde capturing, ringing and tagging wild vultures, rehabilitation, observing, feeding, cleaning, talks and interviews, collecting donations…
At home in Germany, I try to raise as much awareness of vultures as possible, I wrote a vulture children’s book, doing vulture talks, writing vulture articles for newspapers, or having vulture information desks at various zoos. Here, people are not very interested in vultures, but once you start talking about your own experiences and passion, people start listening to you and open their heart to vultures. That’s why I love to support as many projects as possible, all over the world, to get more knowledge and experiences that I can share with other people. To support a species you need to love them. And I want all people to love vultures!
By now I have come back to VulPro five more times. Not only because I can fulfil my passion and work with vultures at VulPro, but here I also found a second family, a second home and friends for life!!! I am looking forward to spend more time with Kerri Wolter and her fantastic VulPro team ,and fight for a better future for our beloved birds!!!
To gain an inside look into Bettina’s world amongst vultures, please follow her fascinating blog at http://www.geierwelt.blogspot.com and join her facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/Bettina.FaszinationGeier/