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Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

2-12 weeks from

minimum age

  • Work with rescued wildlife in the Costa Rican jungle
  • Learn from wildlife vets about how to take care of injured wildlife
  • Combine volunteering with yoga or Spanish lessons
  • Long term volunteers and interns get discounted prices

Anteater being released in wildlife centre

About the Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Project

This Wildlife Rescue centre rescues injured and abandoned animals with the aim of returning them to the wild as soon as they are fit and able. For those who can no longer fend for themselves in the wild, we make them as comfortable as possible and hope that their presence will help to educate others of the dangers these precious animals face and what we can do to live more harmoniously with them in nature.

Volunteers are welcome all year round to help at the centre with the animals and also in the community.  We also welcome long term Conservation and Wildlife Biology interns for 12 week durations.

Volunteers can join for 3 weeks up to 12 weeks in duration (2 weeks is also possible from July to November 2021).  Volunteers work up to 8 hours each day 6 days a week, allowing time off to add-on Spanish lessons or Yoga or just spend the extra time relaxing. Please note that you can only have one “add-on” activity per week due to time constraints.

Duties for 2& 3 week volunteers may include but are not limited to:

  • Animal diet preparationVolunteer feeding baby howler monkey
  • Feeding pre-release animals
  • Enclosure cleaning and maintenance
  • Making enrichment for animals
  • Grounds maintenance and gardening
  • Foraging for leaves and branches
  • Sign painting
  • Photography (under the reserve’s T&Cs)

If you volunteer for 4-11 weeks, your duties will include those listed for 2-3 week volunteers as well as the following:

  • Nursery animal handling
  • Syringe and bottle feeding
  • ICU record keeping
  • Wound care
  • Administering medicine

Capuchin monkey in Costa Rica

And we also offer Long Term Volunteer positions for 12 weeks which are greatly discounted in cost.  You must be over 18 years to apply.  Duties are all of the above in addition to:

  • Force feeding*
  • Tube feeding*
  • Animal restraint*
  • Other duties, as needs dictate

*As long as the volunteer is willing to be trained and shows competence

Volunteers will also be assigned to tasks according to their own specialised skills when possible.  Volunteering also comes with waterfall hikes, tidal pools, and beach outings around the Nicoya Peninsula.

Please note that this is a rescue centre, not a petting zoo.

While the idea of being up close and personal with wild animals is exciting, we require our volunteers to be fully dedicated to the rehabilitation and safety of every animal in our custody.  We receive many hurt animals that are beyond saving, despite our best efforts. This can be heartbreaking work.  We expect each volunteer to be fully committed to the causes which we represent.  The goal for all of our animals is release.  We’ve released howlers, capuchins, anteaters, deer, kinkajous, coatis, skunks, opossums, squirrels, and many more.

Rescued howler baby monkey Costa Rica

Special note: All decisions regarding animals are strictly for their welfare.  Since our aim is to release all animals as soon as possible, human contact will be limited to the bare minimum. Consistency of care reduces stress on recovering wildlife. This means that when volunteers must come in contact with the animals themselves, priority will be given to longer term volunteers who have been trained for such situations. As a short term volunteer, do not expect to touch animals at all unless it becomes necessary. It’s not about us. It’s about saving and conserving wildlife.

Macaw Conservation Volunteering Positions

Scarlet macaws in Costa RicaWe are also offering a special position for bird lovers, who want to spend 12 weeks volunteering with scarlet macaws at our conservation centre.

Scarlet macaws (Ara macao) once flew over 85% of Costa Rica, however due to the pet trade and habitat loss their population now only covers 15%. In addition to their beauty, scarlet macaws are keystone species. They are important seed dispersers for endangered hardwoods that house countless other species. Our goal is to revitalise the ecosystem by returning it to its natural balance.

Our reintroduction programme is an extension of an organisation that has been dedicated to the return of the scarlet macaw to their natural habitat for almost 2 decades. We are looking for a 12-week volunteer to be the main caretaker for our scarlet macaws including breeding birds, juveniles, and pre-release individuals. Volunteers will work 6 days a week for 6-8 hours a day. Work includes but is not limited to:

  • Diet preparation and feeding
  • Cleaning
  • Enclosure maintenance
  • Gardening
  • Enrichment

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, able to work in all weather conditions, and comfortable being on your feet for extended periods of time. Prior experience in animal husbandry is valued but not required, as all volunteers go through formal training upon arrival. Experience and/or studies in field work, biology, environmental sciences, or related fields will be given preference. Strong work ethic, positive attitude, and a passion for animals are an absolute must.

Wildlife Rescue Internship Positions

We also offer two internship positions to students 18 years and older looking for relevant experience: Conservation Education Internships and Wildlife Biology Internships. Interns will work alongside volunteers, taking care of Costa Rican wildlife while setting up a project, writing a dissertation and presenting their results in front of an audience.

Conservation interns

Are expected to help the Rescue Centre educate the public on our goals towards the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintroduction of wildlife as well as the issues we face. Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Research into the biggest threats facing local wildlife
  • Guiding educational visits of the centre
  • Help with educational programming through local school visits
  • Educating the public via social media
  • Help with fundraising campaigns

Wildlife rescue volunteering in Costa Rica

Wildlife biology interns

Are expected to help the Rescue Centre with data collection and analysis to better care for current and future patients. Duties may include:

  • Data input and preliminary analysis of rehabilitation data through the Database
  • Behavioural focal scans of patients in pre-release to better understand their release criteria
  • Census and behavioural data collection of local howler troops
  • Life history research on local wildlife
  • Contacting other rescue centres to compare and share strategies

Although anyone over 18 may apply for the position, those with previous experience working with animals or studies in animal behaviour, biology, or related fields will be given priority.

Specific duties are expected of our interns on top of full term volunteer tasks (you will have plenty of time with animal husbandry, we promise!). While we provide a framework for interns, we encourage you to make the most of your time here by applying your unique skill set and interests to the programme. If you want to apply as an intern, please send your CV/Resume to Victoria.McNeil@workingabroad.com along with your online application.

About the Rescue Centre

Nestled in the foothills of the Cabo Blanco National Park in Costa Rica is where you’ll find this Wildlife Rescue Centre – the hidden gem of the Nicoya Peninsula.  Immersed in incredible natural beauty, this centre is the Costa Rican getaway you’ve always dreamed of.  Whether gazing upon jungle views from our gorgeous yoga deck, enjoying the ocean views from the infinity pool, or looking up at White-faced and Howler monkeys that grace our property on a daily basis, the centre is here to re-energise, reinvigorate and re-awaken the inner you.

Spanish group Costa Rica volunteers

Spanish Courses at the Rescue Centre

Our Spanish immersion programme will allow you the opportunity to practice with locals whilst improving your learning in a fun and supportive environment. Whether it’s your first time learning Spanish or the culmination of a lifelong dream, this is an unparalleled place to study Spanish! “Ticos” (what Costa Ricans call themselves), famous for their hospitality and Pura Vida ways, are also well known for their “clean” and understandable accent compared to most Spanish speaking countries.

Spanish courses can be combined with volunteering.

All students will receive nearly 2 hours of applied learning along with nearly 2 hours of classroom instruction (Monday-Friday).

Applied learning is where you will put your new knowledge to the test on a daily basis, reinforcing what you’ve already learned.  This could mean a board game, a scavenger hunt or a walk to the waterfall with your instructor.  Quite often during your afternoon session you will have the opportunity to use your newly found language skills with Cabuya locals in a fun hands-on experience.

Yoga Classes at the Rescue Centre

Yoga for volunteers in Costa Rica

During your time with us in Costa Rica, you will fall gently into the flow of the class, not having to slow down for newcomers from day to day. You will get to know our instructors’ next moves before they make them and our instructors will get to know your strengths and weaknesses so that together, you can take your practice to the next level. We often have other yoga instructors take our programmes and leave proclaiming that it was the best yoga class they’ve ever taken.

Our classes are Hatha Vinyasa, are held in a studio surrounded by nature, and are within earshot of the jungle sounds of singing birds and howling monkeys. We are open for all levels, teach in English, and space is limited to 15 people in order to keep classes intimate.

We have mats and props available for use and all levels of proficiency are welcome.  Yoga lessons are 90 minutes per day, Monday to Friday.

Yoga Classes can be combined with volunteering.

“One of the incredible things about our project is that through education and our work to solve the problems wildlife face, we are having a positive impact on our environment every day.  Our volunteers help with feeding and rehabbing so many animals which allows us time to focus on the problems themselves.  How do we stop monkey electrocution?  Which locally extinct animals should we reintroduce to have the most profound impact on restoring balance to our ecosystem?  This is the difference our volunteers have made.” – Project Director

Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

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