Best Wildlife Volunteer Vacations
Volunteering with wildlife is a fulfilling way to spend your holiday time. Whether you are looking for a short term program to fit into a week-long holiday, or you are taking a gap year, there is a volunteer program that will fit your needs and interests.
As an animal lover, it is important to support programs that will continue with conservation efforts long after you depart the program. The best wildlife volunteer programs have a clear vision and goal, put the needs of the animals first, and offer a good amount of support to the volunteer. There are thousands of programs out there, but not all programs are created equally. When looking for a wildlife volunteer program, you should be clear on your expectations, needs, budget, this way your experience is as positive as possible.
From animal sanctuaries, and rescue centers, to national park programs and in-destination conservation efforts there are a number of experiences to have, and wildlife to be saved, on a wildlife volunteer program including:
Volunteering with Sea Turtles in Greece
Set near a quiet fishing town in Greece, this sea turtle conservation project offers the opportunity to explore while making a difference. What makes this one of the best wildlife volunteer holidays is the incredible destination as well as the impact. While on the project, you may have the experience of seeing turtles lay their eggs and watching the hatchlings as they make their way for the sea. In your free time, explore the beautiful town and take in the rich Greek culture.
Are you aged 15-17 or do you have a teen who would be interested in volunteering in Greece? This project with GVI is available as a summer program for youth between the ages of 15 and 17. Don’t miss out!
Great White Shark Conservation in South Africa
South Africa is known for its rich history, culture, wines, and wildlife. One of the most misunderstood creatures of the sea is found here, and you can have the opportunity of helping with their conservation: the Great White Shark. As you travel to and explore the White Shark Capital of the World, you can join an exciting opportunity to volunteer alongside biologist and marine conservationists. You’ll take part in studies of Great White Sharks and other marine wildlife including penguins and other species of shark. Enjoy the thrill of shark cage dives, as well as community work and conservation efforts.
Consider visiting Gansbaai, a destination very popular for tourists, and join International Marine Volunteers at their Great White Shark volunteer program.
Elephant and Wildlife Volunteering in Thailand
There’s no question that elephants capture the hearts of many and for generations have been mistreated in the name of tourism. Elephant conservation programs have popped up all over South East Asia, as well as Africa. Not all, however, are actively taking part in rehabilitating and re-introducing them to natural habitats. There is a handful that we know about that are making a big difference in the well-being and futures of previously mistreated elephants.
When in Thailand, you may be tempted to take an elephant ride, but an even more fulfilling experience is joining an elephant volunteer program that enriches their lives and yours!
Consider joining Oyster Worldwide near Bangkok and help with the conservation of elephants and other wildlife; or, if you’re heading North, join GVI near Chiang Mai and assist in the reintroduction of elephants into their natural habitat.
Marine Conservation Short-Term Internship in Mexico
If you’ve always dreamed of being a marine biologist, or you have a passion for scuba diving, a marine conservation internship is right down your alley. While some internships span the course of 6 months or more, it may not be feasible for everyone. The opportunity for a short-term internship of just 6-weeks is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to a possible career path, or just gain new skills you can use down the road.
At a short-term marine conservation internship, you can expect to join daily dives, animal rescues, surveys of marine debris, removal of debris, sea turtle and coral reef surveys, and training sessions. You’ll have a mentor who will monitor your progress, offer feedback, and act as a professional reference after your program completion!
Do you have a teen interested in marine conservation? Sign them up for GVI’s teen marine conservation project this summer!
Conservation Internship in Costa Rica
For those from Canada or the United States, Central America's Costa Rica is a fantastic basecamp to start your career in conservation. At a conservation internship, you’ll spend 24 weeks learning about and taking part in conservation, as well as gaining new skills that will set you apart. From data collection to processing, surveying, camera trapping, first aid, canoeing, species identification, patrols, and more, the possibilities are endless!
Consider joining this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with GVI and meet like-minded travelers and staff that share in your love for wildlife and conservation!
Cheetah Conservation & Research in South Africa
You may have heard that the fastest land mammal is the cheetah, but did you know they are also a vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List? Here is an exciting opportunity to make a difference and help with conservation efforts. Join researchers and other volunteers in their studies of cheetah kill behavior. You’ll also learn how to identify other African wildlife, join game drives, and much more.
As you gain a better understanding of the cheetah, you’ll understand the even greater need of restoring populations for future generations of learning and supporting wildlife.
Consider joining GVI at this fascinating cheetah volunteer program in South Africa.
Wildlife Volunteer Program in Ecuador
Ecuador is an incredible place to visit for wildlife enthusiasts. If you’re looking to join a wildlife volunteer program, Ecuador is perfect! You can opt to visit the famed Galapagos where you could participate in environmental conservation that helps conserve the islands’ treasured wildlife species. You can also head to the Ecuadorian Amazon and help in rescue centers that save and rehabilitate animals including birds, reptiles, primates, etc. These animals have been negatively impacted by abuse, trafficking, and loss of habitat.
Consider joining Love Volunteers at this wonderful program in the Amazon and make a difference for the vulnerable wildlife of the jungle.