Wildlife & Animal Conservation Volunteer Abroad Programs

If you are passionate about animals, join us and volunteer on animal conservation. The sea turtle conservation program in Costa Rica is one of the favorites of our volunteers. IKPVA has programs available in Costa Rica, Nepal, Thailand, South Africa, India 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.

Destinations for Animal Conservation Volunteers

Animal Conservation Volunteer Programs – Overview

Have ever wanted to help ensure the most renowned wildlife species continue to thrive outside of captivity, if so then this project is for you! The wildlife & animal conservation volunteer projects are an umbrella for everything to do with protecting the health of the incredible wildlife that is hugely vulnerable to harm by human activity.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to live in sanctuaries where they will help around in daily activities and field activities, as well as study and monitor native and endangered animals. A big part of this project is to accept that working alongside wild animals isn’t going to be like babysitting. Volunteers will get up close to the wilderness in their most natural states and will get to immerse themselves into real conservation efforts.

Highlights for Animal Conservation Volunteers:

Save the Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Paige volunteering with the Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
Paige working with turtles

Volunteer in Costa Rica to save sea turtles in this paradisiac community on the Caribbean coast 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

Volunteering on Costa Rica’s Beautiful Coast

Volunteering on Costa Rica's Beautiful Coast
Nikita Barnard in Costa Rica

I had an amazing time volunteering on Costa Rica’s beautiful coast. Where at night we went on patrols to search for nests/turtles, scare off poachers (who aren’t always bad) and simply survey the beach. During the day we went on hikes to see the islands natural life and meet new people, cleaned up the beach, cleaned and prepared the hatchery and much more. I’d definitely recommend this conservation project for your next volunteer opportunity. The people were so welcoming and treated us as if we had lived there our whole lives. Everyone had a cool story and a nickname to go with it. Like mechudo and his baby blue jean poisonous dart frog…  – Nikita Barnard

Find out more about working with the sea turtles in Costa Rica

Big Cat Volunteering in South Africa

Unforgettable Experience in South Africa - Camille with a leopardIf you choose to join this animal conservation project in South Africa you will be working for a non- profit organization fueled by passion and love for these exploited animals. The population of big cats in South Africa is being threatened by a high presence of bone trade and canned hunting, and poachers who hunt them for sport. They have also traditionally fallen victim to exploitation in captivity and face a constant and rapid loss of habitat as the land gets developed.

Find out more about volunteering with big cats in South Africa.

Save the Vervet Monkeys in South Africa

Gijs van Suijlichem - Volunteer in South Africa
Gijs van Suijlichem

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.

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. his 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 wildlife in the African bush. Make friends you will remember forever – some furry and some a little less so.

“I’m having a wonderful time here and there is nothing that I don’t like.”
Gijs van Suijlichem

Find out more about volunteer work with the vervet monkeys in South Africa

Volunteering with ElephantsThailand

Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand. Experience Thailand from a local perspective & make lifelong friends.

Join the centuries old tradition of training ‘domestic’ elephants by mahouts in Thailand.

The volunteer program aims to offer a responsible and sustainable alternative to the fate often faced by elephants in Thailand. Because of the dissolution of the logging industry, many elephants are taken to urban areas to beg for money and are often mistreated. Therefore, our elephant volunteer program continues to lead the way in Surin in helping to change attitudes towards elephant care for the better.

Volunteer on Elephant Care and Support the Local Community

Since all the activities are about caring for the elephants and treating them with respect, we put our strict no riding policy. Therefore, your work schedule will include walking them to the river to bathe them, harvesting and planting food, feeding the elephants, everything is based around a new approach to elephant care that puts the elephant first.

A New Approach on Elephant Care

The program will bring you in touch with the elephants. Therefore, the close and personal contact with these magnificent creatures on a daily basis will be an unforgettable beautiful experience. At the same time you will see the real Thailand, the daily life of its residents. Living in a traditional long house with other volunteers, that’s rural Thai life at it’s very best!

Find out more about volunteer work with elephants in Thailand

Big Five Conservation Project in South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa monitoring a researching South Africa’s Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalos, white & black rhino, and hyenas. You will be heavily involved in important conservation work to make sure the animals are healthy and the land is well balanced.

You will spend your days tracking, spotting, recording and observing the movements and behavior of these African animals. Moreover, you will collect data which will help creating files on the animals. Then, the park coordinators will analyse and monitor these monthly reports.

Find out more about volunteer work with Big Five Conservation in South Africa

Big Five Monitoring in South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa monitoring a researching South Africa’s Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalos, white & black rhino, and hyenas. You will be heavily involved in important conservation work to make sure the animals are healthy. This will contribute also in the ecologicalequilibirum in the African Bush.

Learn more about volunteering with Big Five Monitoring in South Africa

Great White Shark – Marine Conservation Project in South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa in our marine conservation project.

Today the population of sharks worldwide is under threat. Help to monitor and conserve one of the most incredible creatures of the marine world, the Great White Shark.

You will be working alongside marine biologists researching and observing these magnificent predators and their environment. You will have the task of sharing this research and knowledge with visitors going shark diving, and may get the chance to assist in tagging and tracking sharks.

Find out more about Marine Conservation in South Africa

Opportunities in Wildlife & Animal Conservation Volunteer projects

As a volunteer you’ll work in a team of other volunteers to get a variety of tasks done within the projects. These activities vary depending on the weather and time of year. Tasks may include, but not limited to:

  • Tracking and monitoring animalsVolunteer posing to the camera with two cheetas in one of our Animal Conservation projects
  • Breeding
  • Animals counts
  • Feeding
  • Coordinating visitors in reserves
  • Tracking collared animals
  • Accompanying guides on night patrols
  • Clearing paths
  • Hatchery duties
  • Beach cleaning
  • And others according to the season and weather

Skills required for wildlife & animal conservation volunteer projects

Some projects have specific skills. Please check the description of your chosen program to check the skills required.

For all projects:

  • Volunteers must love animals and help to take care of them;
  • Realise the enormous responsibility of working with wild animals;
  • You will have to be open to learn new skills
  • Be prepared to get stuck in and get your hands dirty