While volunteering with animals abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to work on wildlife conservation projects grounded in science, contribute to ethical world-changing efforts, and come face-to-face with some of the world’s rarest animals in remote, thrilling, and beautiful habitats. These ecosystems, including rainforests, tropical islands and mountainous cloud forests, are typically not just beyond your doorstep.
Are you an animal lover looking to volunteer with animals abroad?
There are many different ways to volunteer to help animals around the world. Some wildlife conservation organisations offer volunteer opportunities that involve working with wildlife in their natural habitats. Other organisations offer opportunities to work with domesticated animals in shelters or sanctuaries, such as volunteering at an animal rescue centre.
At GVI, we offer you animal volunteering experiences with a difference. You’ll join cutting-edge wildlife conservation research teams on remote research stations worldwide. Here you’ll work alongside like-minded, passionate people from all over the world.
Our animal volunteer abroad programs are open to anyone who wants to make a difference while they travel and is interested in animal welfare and conservation. Animal care volunteers could be:
If you’re looking to volunteer with animals abroad, GVI offers wildlife volunteer programs in the following locations:
Animal care volunteering offers a range of benefits, both for the animals you’ll be working with and for yourself. Some of the benefits include:
All of our projects are led by local wildlife conservation organisations, governments or NGOs. The objectives and goals of each project are determined by these partner organisations. Some of the partners we work with include:
And of course, you’ll be joined by passionate animal lovers from around the world. These people will become the friends you think of as family, and have been brought together by a shared mission and values: to contribute to wildlife conservation efforts. And to help make a positive impact in the world.
We offer animal care volunteer programs focused on sea turtles in four locations:
Our project work focuses on four species of sea turtles: green sea turtles, leatherback turtles, loggerhead turtles and hawksbill sea turtles.
Get hands-on with volunteering by monitoring nests, overseeing turtle hatchlings and participating in beach cleans. Join daily surveys to identify new and returning sea turtles, measure them, and record distinctive markings. Your efforts contribute to understanding practical aspects like turtle behaviour, nesting strategies, migration patterns and hatchling success rates.
We run two elephant conservation programs – one in Chiang Mai, Thailand and the second on a private game reserve in South Africa, an hour away from Kruger National Park.
Leaving behind their lives in the tourism industry, these gentle giants now live a wilder life in Chiang Mai Province in Northern Thailand, an area famous for its traditional elephant-keeping communities. Observe the elephants in their natural habitat and learn about elephant history, behaviour, training, biology and social interactions directly from the people who have cared for and worked alongside these beautiful animals for centuries.
Our wildlife conservation volunteer program in South Africa focuses on elephants, rhinos and buffalos. Located on a private reserve in Limpopo, you’ll be working with an international team on essential research. On this program you’ll engage in surveys and safari vehicle tracking, gathering crucial data on elephant population dynamics, behaviours and identification details.
These are some of the incredible species found in the locations where our volunteering with animals programs take place.
Travel with us to some of the world’s most extraordinary and vulnerable habitats, where you can experience every kind of terrain – from tall jungle peaks to colourful coral reefs and every summit, shore and isle in between. We offer animal volunteer opportunities in the following locations:
Experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve through our wildlife volunteer programs. You’ll live and work at our Kekoldi research station, surrounded by sea turtles, jungle cats, monkeys, birds, raptors, reptiles, and more in their natural habitat.
You’ll go on hikes, conduct biodiversity surveys on key species, and monitor the reserve’s health by documenting sightings of reptiles, amphibians and other species. During the raptor season, you can participate in ongoing research aimed at deepening our understanding of the prevalence of these species.
Joining a conservation program in Fiji means experiencing the magic of Viti Levu’s Dawasamu District. You’ll live on a remote island, close to the enchanting Moon Reef and its spinner dolphins, reef sharks, tropical fish and sea turtles. It’s a chance for incredible reef dives, marine research and embracing the laid-back village lifestyle.
This is a rare chance to live in one of Earth’s most pristine areas, actively contributing to its protection while helping safeguard ocean animals like dolphins, sharks and turtles.
We run sea turtle conservation volunteer programs in two captivating Greek locations.
First up is Giannitsochori, a picturesque traditional village nestled between the pristine waters of the Aegean Sea and the rugged expanse of the Peloponnesian coastline. Known for ancient sea turtle nesting routes, our work here plays a crucial role in preserving this coastal habitat for loggerhead and green turtles.
The second location is Kefalonia, the largest Ionian Island. Our under-18 sea turtle conservation program is based in the charming seaside town of Argostoli, situated within Kefalonia. Working in collaboration with Wildlife Sense, teen volunteers on this island work towards the protection of loggerhead and green turtles.
From our research station on the island of Nosy Be, we work to protect three lemur species listed on the IUCN Red List. Madagascar, off East Africa’s coast in the Indian Ocean, is home to unique wildlife like the pint-sized mouse lemur and eye-catching panther chameleon. Our wildlife conservation efforts revolve around the collection and analysis of data on indigenous reptiles, birds and mammals, with a specific focus on lemurs and chameleons.
When you’re not working, take in the serenity of the island’s pristine beaches or hike up Mont Passot for sweeping panoramic views – there’s a whole vibe waiting to be explored on this biodiverse island.
Situated in the beautiful Mexican Caribbean, volunteers at our research station in the coastal town of Puerto Morelos will learn about the biology and ecological importance of sea turtle species, as well as gain insights into what threatens their survival. In particular, participants will assist our local partner – the National Commission for the Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) – with their sea turtle nesting and hatching monitoring programs, help in photo identification of sea turtles in the Ojo de Agua snorkelling site, and help develop and implement conservation education programs in the local community.
Located in Limpopo, our research station promises an authentic safari experience, just a 45-minute drive from the town of Hoedspruit. The private game reserve is a haven for diverse wildlife, including elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, honey badgers, baboons and numerous bird species.
As a wildlife conservation volunteer, you’ll actively contribute to critical conservation work, collaborating with local authorities and expert research teams to preserve the rich ecosystem, including large dams, rivers and a vibrant bird population.
Our research station is based on the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Spanish Canary Islands. Centred around whales and dolphins, our conservation programs in Tenerife focus on assessing marine populations, contributing to conservation science, managing coastal waste, and promoting sustainable tourism practices.
Your days will be spent on boats, interacting with dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. Tenerife’s diverse landscapes, ranging from sun-kissed beaches to snow-capped peaks, provide a spectacular backdrop for your volunteer experience.
Thailand is an abundant tropical territory home to thousands of species of mammals, fish, reptiles and insects. If you join a GVI animal care volunteer program in Thailand, one of the following locations will become your office:
Participants on our animal volunteer programs work on wildlife conservation projects that are dedicated to the preservation of a range of animal species and their habitats. One of the most striking features of our animal care volunteer programs is that they provide a real-life demonstration of how animals, environments and human beings can – and do – interact positively within an ecosystem.
Volunteering to work with animals is an incredible opportunity to make a difference, learn new skills, and have fun while doing it. On one of GVI’s animal volunteer programs, you’ll be playing an important role in helping protect some of Earth’s most treasured species and support locally-led wildlife conservation efforts. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about animal behaviour and conservation techniques from experts.
Yes. GVI has a very strict and robust ethical animal handling policy on all our animal volunteer programs and research projects, which is constantly monitored and updated. You can read more about it here.
Simple! GVI’s animal volunteer programs abroad make it the easiest thing in the world to simultaneously volunteer with animals in need of care and rehabilitation and travel to some of its most beautiful locations.
It’s not always essential to interact with wild animals to contribute to their conservation. But in some cases, the benefits of interacting with wild animals, under the supervision of experts, outweighs the risks. All of our international animal care volunteer programs only allow for interactions that are essential to the well-being of the animals involved.
If you’re working with a reputable and ethical animal care organisation you can rest assured that you’ll be taking part in work that won’t put you at risk of being injured by a wild animal. All of GVI’s local staff and partners have expertise in the field and will supervise you in a way that is safe, while still allowing you to gain valuable experience. GVI also has a strict stance on animal interaction that is applied to every animal volunteer program we run.