If you’d like to volunteer hands-on with animals, IKPVA has animal conservation programs available in Costa Rica, Nepal, Thailand, South Africa, and Kenya, where you’ll help protect animals in sanctuaries as well as through research and monitoring endangered species in the wild.
A few ways you can get involved include tracking and monitoring animals, feeding animals, coordinating visitors in reserves, accompanying guides on night patrols, assisting with hatchery duties, and much more. Depending on the program you sign up for, you may need to have background experience in your project area.
Animal volunteer programs abroad are currently available in Costa Rica - Working with the Sea Turtles, South Africa - working with the vervet monkeys, Big Five conservation Big Cat Volunteering and Great White Shark conservation in South Africa. Elephant Care programs are available in Thailand and South Africa.
Volunteer in Costa Rica to save sea turtles in this paradisiac community on the Caribbean cost of Costa Rica is a wonderful opportunity to help protect these endangered species. You will see giant female sea turtles nesting on the beach and baby turtles crawling out of their nests in the sand towards the ocean. It is an exciting opportunity to help a town that relies on its sea turtle population and to contribute to the growth and success of this grassroots conservation project.
I had a fantastic time in Costa Rica with the turtles and I met many people and created memories I will never forget. I definitely recommend Iko Poran and the Sea Turtle experience in Costa Rica and I cannot wait until I volunteer with them again. Pura Vida!
– Paige, 19 years old, Costa Rica
The primary work for the participants in our volunteer in Costa Rica program is to accompany local guides on 4-hour night patrols searching for nesting sea turtles. These patrols are part of an on-going scientific investigation so turtles are measured, checked for diseases and tagged while the eggs are collected and relocated to the project’s guarded hatchery. The presence of more people on the beach means less opportunity for the poachers, who will steal the turtle eggs and kill the turtles to sell the meat illegally. For the night patrols volunteers should be in good physical condition to walk 6 km of beach and back. They should also have good night vision as most of the work is done in the dark with only red-lensed flashlights. Some nights you will be soaked by heavy rains, other nights high tides will spray you, and always driftwood is there to trip you in the dark. But there will also be beautiful nights with a full moon, the sky full of stars and best of all nesting turtles. Day work involves hatchery duty, beach cleaning and assisting in nest exhumations and release of hatchlings. There are also a lot of other environmental projects to help with around the village.
Go for it! Wonderful Costa Rica is waiting for you!!
Join the family at this amazing primate sanctuary. At this special initiative, orphaned primates come from near and far and are given a loving home where they are rehabilitated and cared for until they can be released back into the wild.
“I’m having a wonderful time here and there is nothing that I don’t like.”
Gijs van Suijlichem has been volunteering in South Africa on Vervet Monkeys
With over 500 cheeky monkeys in care at any one time, this sanctuary always needs an extra pair of helping hands. Your participation will help to ensure they are all well fed, cared for and loved; and will help raise funds to maintain the place up to scratch for its gorgeous guests. This is an incredible option for those who go bananas for animals as you will get the chance to work hands on, under the guidance of experienced professionals, with the monkeys. At other times you will be helping to carry out all the back-stage tasks which really ensure the monkeys’ wellbeing.
At the same time you will get to experience the amazing life in the African bush, and make friends you will remember forever – some furry and some a little less so.
Find the full information about volunteering on animal conservation in South Africa here
On this project you will be in a team of volunteers working to carry out a spectrum of important tasks across the reserve. The nature of the work will vary according to the weather and season, however tasks may include, but not limited to: lion tracking, game counts & capture, environmental work, planting trees, managing vegetation, and patrolling fences. There will also be tasks in the petting farm and stables, caring for the horses. You will get to go out on game drives & wilderness walks, and work hands on helping with the care of animals in the rehabilitation and education centre.
The volunteers of this project rotate to visit and work in different parts of the reserve, giving you the opportunity to try a hand at all the different tasks and activities whilst you are staying in South Africa.
Depending on the time of the year tasks may include, but not limited to:
For all projects: