Find out More About our Policy on Ethical Volunteering with Wildlife Abroad

Ethical volunteering with lions in AfricaAt WorkingAbroad, we don’t accept any volunteer projects with any kind of inappropriate interaction with animals, such as cub petting, elephant riding or hands-on interaction with predators. We have since 2015 been a proud and active partner of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH). We have taken active steps to make sure that none of our projects, whether our own or in our database, have any relation to canned hunting. Neither is any organisation who wants to advertise on our website allowed to do so on behalf of programmes that are directly or indirectly linked to canned hunting. We would immediately end any partnership that proved to part of the canned hunting industry. If canned hunting is something you haven't heard of before, you can read our blog "The Awful Business of Canned Hunting" here.

You can also read a recent article we have written about the subject of ethical volunteering abroad, and why volunteer organisations need to be held accountable here.

None of our own Elephant projects offer elephant rides or other tricks (painting/shows etc.) involving elephants. They live in the sanctuaries as free elephants, and we don’t allow any volunteer projects in our database that have links to the working elephant industry. Neither are any advertisers on our website allowed to have any direct or indirect links to this industry. You can read more about the ethical issues surrounding elephant riding in Thailand (and why it should be avoided) at

For our volunteering projects involving wild animals, there is no unethical interaction with wild animals at all. So, for most of our wildlife projects they involve only observing/studying wildlife from a distance unless absolutely necessary and accompanied by trained researchers or staff.

Campaign Against Canned HuntingAt our wildlife research projects in the Amazon Basin of Peru, the animals captured (herpetofauna, avifauna and invertebrates) are only in our care for as little time as possible. This means only while taking measurements and taking pictures for cataloguing, which is done in a careful manner to not stress the animals during the process. The animals are then always released back in the same place it was captured. You can read more about how a “selfie” industry for tourists has developed in the parts of the Amazon located in Brazil and Peru, and how it’s hurting the native wildlife here. Please don’t ever support these places as a traveller abroad!

We have also taken an active stance by removing any links on our website to other volunteer companies, which are engaged with:

  • Predator interaction such as cub petting or walks with predators
  • Predator breeding facilities
  • Elephant rides or camps that are involved with working elephants for tourists

Elephants in ThailandThe Working Abroad Projects volunteer database includes more than 2,000 volunteer projects with partner organisations from around the World and we have checked every one to check what projects were being offered.

A quote from Vicky McNeil, WorkingAbroad Founder;

“When I co-founded this organisation in 1997, I volunteered with many charities around the world, and it led to setting up a volunteer database to offer others the ability to take action for nature and society.  Over the years, the volunteering sector has grown in size and it saddens me to see how many organisations today are directly or indirectly involved with unethical animal welfare practices. I am so relieved that we have been able to identify the organisations in question and have the opportunity to remove them from our database and from our website, visited by over 40,000 people a month. We hope that this can be a step forward in removing these projects for good”.