About the Bear Sanctuary Project
The Bear Sanctuary project in Cambodia is currently taking care of more than 120 bears that have been saved from appalling conditions and the illegal wildlife trade. They rescue and rehabilitate the bears, which are mainly Sun bears and Moon bears (Asiatic black bear) that are facing numerous threats in Asia. The main threat being subject to the illegal wildlife trade, where almost all of the bears in the sanctuary are rescued from either poachers, exotic pet owners or people planning to use them for traditional medicine. Another grave threat to bears in Asia is bear bile farms.
The sanctuary works with communities, schools and organisations across Asia to change attitudes and raise awareness of the wildlife trade and work with universities and other institutions, who conduct critical research. Finally, they also work with government, law enforcement agencies and other charities, to create and implement a framework to combat wildlife traders.
Volunteers at the sanctuary will be part of a husbandry-oriented programme that give them the opportunity to work alongside the experienced local keepers and learn about the care involved looking after more than 120 rescued bears. The aim is to rehabilitate the bears, so it eventually will be possible to release them back into the wild.
Volunteers will work from Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 4pm and take part in a varied range of activities, which include but are not limited to:
- preparing and distributing scatter feeds throughout the days
- providing sensory enrichment to keep the bears stimulated
- cleaning forest enclosures and bear dens
- creating/repairing bear hammocks
- assisting with maintenance work (painting, sanding, repairs, gardening)
The sanctuary is located inside a larger wildlife rescue centre with the bear sanctuary being established in 1997. It is the World’s largest sanctuary for sun bears, but volunteers will also get to experience all of the other tropical wildlife that the rescue centre has saved during their time there.
As a volunteer you will get behind the scenes of a sanctuary and be an active part of the difference it makes to the lives of the rescued bears. You will get to work closely with the bears, but for the safety and welfare of these and volunteers, there will be no direct contact. They are rescued wild animals and we want them to enjoy as natural a life as possible. The sanctuary is also located within a wildlife rescue centre, which houses many different exotic species. You will get to see many of these (if not all) during your stay, but again with no direct contact allowed.
Research Internship Programme
The project provides interested university students the opportunity to undertake an internship of 4-12 weeks in duration. Interns can do research related to their own studies, for a thesis or smaller project. We would just need to know the research topic when applying to determine whether feasible to undertake, so please include this in your application. Please be sure when enquiring to include your CV and mention any previous experience with animals/wildlife as well as any related study undertaken or previous work experience in the application.
“Volunteers that join have become lifelong ambassadors for Sun and Moon bear species, and have always been one of the most vital parts of our organisation right from the very beginning – spreading awareness, supporting our sanctuary and getting involved to lend a hand wherever it’s needed! They make it possible for us to keep looking after the bears in our care and even rescue more.” – Quote from Project Manager in Cambodia