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Volunteer With Animals Abroad

One of the most popular of the types of volunteering projects is dedicated to the conservation of animals. There are endless options for volunteering with animals, ranging from assisting in an animal shelter to observing the Big Five from a jeep in the middle of a reserve in Africa. You can soak up the sun in Greece while protecting sea turtle nests or learn to scuba dive while surveying the manatee population in Belize. From trekking through the jungles of Malaysia and Central America to living aboard an Italian research boat, animal volunteer projects can take you just about anywhere!

Types of Animal Volunteering Programs

The umbrella category of animal volunteering is a vast one, with many placement choices. Volunteers could be wildlife enthusiasts, dog and cat lovers, first-time animal caregivers or even veterinary students; there is always a suitable animal project to be found. Some volunteers have a passion for marine species, some for majestic land animals and of course, some for both. Deciding whether to contribute to conservation by joining a research-based project or by participating in hands-on projects is the first step to determining which animal volunteer project is the right choice for you. From there you can continue to narrow down your preferences even further. The main types of animal volunteering projects will continue to be explored below.

Research-Based: Animal projects that are research-based allow volunteers to collect data that is vital for the survival of a species. Data collected is sent to local environmental and/or government organizations. Projects often measure the presence of a specific species and population threats in a selected area over a long period of time to determine the population status, such as our Manatee and Marine Conservation project in Belize. Marine research-based projects like our Canary Islands Dolphin and Whale Research project measure boat traffic and its effects on the local whale and dolphin populations. Terrestrial-based projects such as the Jaguar Research and Conservation project in Costa Rica collects data on the presence of jaguars throughout the rainforest, and by having volunteers present in the rainforest, the project also serves to deter poachers.

Hands-On: For volunteers who wish to see the direct impact they are having, hands-on animal projects are the perfect fit. Volunteers can build protective enclosures for sea turtle nests in Greece, release them back into the ocean in Bali, prepare food for sloths in Costa Rica or tend to animals’ wounds and medical needs in South Africa. Hands-on projects include working with wildlife as well as with domestic dogs and cats in our various animal shelter projects.

Marine Animal Projects: So you want to volunteer for the conservation of a marine species. Have you chosen research-based or hands-on? Marine animal volunteer projects vary, from the hands-on tasks of sea turtle conservation to the research of Great White Sharks. GoEco’s specific marine animal projects include the research and conservation of dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and more. These projects involve swimming, snorkleing or scuba diving alongside majestic whale sharks, living on a boat off the coast of Italy and living on a private island in Belize.

Terrestrial Animal Projects: For volunteers who prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of animal volunteering options, from volunteering for the king of the jungle to caring for squirrels in Canada and everything in between. Some of our most popular terrestrial, research-based projects include the Big 5 Safari Reserve near South Africa’s Kruger Park and our Jaguar Research and Conservation project in Costa Rica. These projects entail observation and data collection of various local species. You can also venture to the African island of Madagascar to partake in lemur conservation, explore the Costa Rican jungle to track big cats, prepare panda cake and bamboo for the giant pandas in China and more! 
Animal Shelters: GoEco offers three incredible animal shelter volunteer programs, located in Israel, Mexico and South Africa. These volunteer projects are perfect for those who prefer to care for domestic animals  rather than wildlife. These shelters take in abandoned or abused cats and dogs and nurse them back to health. The East Tel Aviv placement option in Israel’s Tel Aviv Animal Shelter project has volunteers involved in adoption promotion as well, where they work to find a forever home for these animals. There is also an option at this particular shelter to be involved in more veterinary care than an average shelter volunteer would be, and allows for volunteers to assist in positive reinforcement behavioral training. Our Animal Rescue and Veterinary Shelter in South Africa has its own on-site veterinary clinic where volunteers may assist veterinarians when necessary.

Wildlife Sanctuaries: Another terrestrial animal volunteering opportunity is to assist in a variety of tasks at a wildlife sanctuary. A wildlife sanctuary acts as safe haven for injured wildlife or animals that have been rescued from illegal trading, poaching and related animal atrocities. Sanctuaries that have taken in injured wildlife were established to rehabilitate the animals and release them back into the wild when possible. Volunteer opportunities range from preparing food for big cats in South Africa to caring for indigenous koalas in Australia.

Internships: For volunteers who want to gain as much as possible from their volunteering experience, or to earn academic credit, our animal internships offer just that. GoEco offers several animal internship programs, including programs that are specifically designed for pre-vet students. These include our new African Wildlife Ranch Pre-Vet Internship and our animal shelter placements that allow qualified volunteers to assist with veterinary tasks.

Impacts and Achievements of Our Animal Projects

GoEco takes careful measures to ensure that all of our animal projects are trustworthy and have only a positive impact. For example, our Orangutan and Wildlife Rescue Center in Indonesia rescued 17 and released 20 animals in 2017. Our Whale Shark and Marine Conservation project’s staff and volunteers in Mozambique have identified over 400 individual whale sharks to date and entered them into a global conservation database. The program has also published eight scientific papers that include conservation recommendations and have implemented protocols that help protect the marine ecosystem against the negative effects of heavy, in-water tourism. Our African Wildlife Orphanage program has an educational component in which volunteers visit local schools to educate the children about endangered local animals and spread awareness for wildlife conservation. Volunteers at the Big Cat Refuge in South Africa have made sign to spread awareness within the local community about the issue of canned hunting. All of our animal projects are ethical and many of our projects encourage volunteers to raise awareness about the many threats to wildlife populations worldwide.

“Location, Location, Location”

Volunteering with Animals in Africa: Africa’s Big Five include the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo and elephant. GoEco offers two projects dedicated specifically  to researching the Big Five, but we also offer projects that focus on one specific species. For starters, you can volunteer for lion conservation in Victoria Falls, research the African elephant in South Africa’s Garden Route and dive to collect data on whale shark populations in Mozambique.

Volunteering with Animals in Asia: GoEco’s most popular Asian animal volunteering project is our Giant Panda Center in the ancient country of China. Our second most-loved is our Marine and Turtle Conservation project in tropical Bali. You could also  join one of our elephant sanctuaries is Cambodia or Thailand while on your volontour trip across Asia.

Volunteering with Animals in Australasia: Options in Australasia aren’t limited to volunteering at an Australian wildlife sanctuary with indigenous koalas and kangaroos. You could also earn your PADI certification the tropical island of Caqalai  in Fiji and use your newly obtained diving skills to collect data on specific fish populations around the island.
Volunteering with Animals in the Americas: Dive into volunteering opportunities on a private island in Belize or trek up north to volunteer with local Canadian wildlife. Central America’s ever-popular destination of Costa Rica will enchant you with rainforest expeditions and jaguar conservation projects. South, Central and North America all have amazing animal volunteering projects that are waiting for you.

GoEco’s animal volunteering projects are under a large umbrella which offers many different options, most of which are suitable for every kind of volunteer. Whether your interest is in conserving or rehabilitating wildlife in Africa, cats and dogs in Israel or the marine animals of Belize, we have the project that’s right for you! 

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Volunteer at Australia’s only Heritage Listed wildlife sanctuary, situated in natural bushland, alive with native wildlife. The local team provides a lifelong home for rescued wildlife, breeds endangered species to release and...
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Volunteer at one of the largest and most successful wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation centers in Africa! Volunteers on this project work with a range of animals, anything from monkeys to lions. Experience beautiful Zimbabwe while...
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Volunteer in Bali, a beautiful region surrounded by marine life and amazing scenery. Work with injured and rescued sea turtles to rehabilitate them and educate others about the importance of ensuring this species' survival
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If you are passionate about wild animals and want to make a difference in their lives, then volunteer at the African Wildlife Ranch! Help their incredible staff with conservation efforts and experience close encounters with a range of...
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Join this unique wildlife conservation program in the spectacular, desert landscape of the Arabah, and help to re-populate the nature reserve with the region's native species!  
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Journey to the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica to help sea turtles in their fight against human poachers and erosion of their nesting sites. Meet other like-minded wildlife volunteers and experience the thrill of returning thousands of...
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Journey to the unbelievable island of Naifaru for sea turtle rehabilitation! Join marine conservationists in their efforts to rescue and rehabilitate turtles and help protect the coral reefs, as well as enjoy spending time in one of...
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Costa Rica has more than 8,500 species of plants, 220 species of reptiles, 160 amphibians, 205 species of mammals, and 850 species of birds. Volunteers here play an important role in the conservation of Costa Rica's incredible...
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Volunteers are needed to assist with this exciting conservation project for the care and rehabilitation of African wildlife. Experience the African bush up close near the incredible Kruger National Park
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Volunteers are welcome to assist in an exciting and rewarding program with giant pandas in China. Make a real impact on conservation efforts for this vulnerable species
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