Volunteer Work, Animal Welfare
about 45 km north of Santa Cruz de la Sierra
flexible start and end dates year round
The rescue and custody center for wild animals in Bolivia was founded in 2009 by a Swiss animal lover. In the middle of a very varied tropical landscape in the province of Santa Cruz, the animal custody center has a 44-hectare protected nature reserve. Wild animals find ideal conditions for a secure life in the primeval forests, swamps and savannahs. Integrated into this protected habitat are extensive, species-appropriate animal facilities, where the freed wild animals have a second chance for a better life.
The animal sanctuary is managed by an independent NGO that does not receive any financial support from either the Bolivian government or the province of Santa Cruz. The support of volunteers is therefore very important for the continued existence of the center.
The animal welfare project is committed to educating the general public about the protection of flora and fauna in Bolivia, since the major rethinking of environmental issues in Bolivia has to be initiated by the younger generation.
The motives that led to the founding of the animal sanctuary are diverse. Bolivia is one of the most biodiverse countries on earth. Despite or precisely because of this unique biodiversity, the local flora and fauna are threatened by massive deforestation, poaching and illegal animal trade. Huge areas of intact rainforest are falling victim to uncontrolled deforestation, wetlands are being drained and countless animal species are endangered. A sad balance of our human actions.
Confiscated wild animals are taken in and rehabilitated in the animal custody center. The center also takes care of wild animals that are kept as pets in private households and given up voluntarily. In the very best case, the animals are later released into complete freedom, which, however, is only possible in very exceptional cases. In most cases, the trauma and the loss of the animals' natural (protective) instincts are too great.
In addition to the varied terrain for the wild animals, the animal welfare project has a well thought-out infrastructure such as a spacious animal feed kitchen for the preparation of daily food and the storage of fresh vegetables/fruit for the animals. There are also veterinary areas for the veterinarian, as well as a small first aid room with necessary medicines, a closed quarantine room and a special "nursery" where young abandoned wild animals receive special care.
A part of the conservation park with its original nature is accessible to visitors, where they can learn more about the fantastic fauna and flora of the tropics of Santa Cruz from experienced guides. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the jungle on foot on well-signposted paths, to cross the swamps and to see different lagoons in the Pampas.
The volunteers who help in this animal custody center in Bolivia get a deep insight into the adventurous life in pure nature and intact jungle. In this breathtaking landscape you can support animal welfare and make your contribution to preserving biodiversity on our mother earth.
Approximately 350 wild animals live in the animal sanctuary (number subject to change). All of these wonderful creatures were kept as pets, although wild animal ownership is prohibited by law in Bolivia. Many of these animals were subjected to constant stress and dirt, confined in small cages or shackled. Animals include various species of monkeys, tortoises, wild boar, deer, badgers, macaws and other species of parrots, toucans, wild cats, coatis, kinkajous and foxes. Many turtles live in the lagoons and around 80 sloths in the jungle, which is rich in species.
The animal protection project builds large enclosures for its protégés with lots of nature, lush greenery and secure fences. Animals that arrive very small need special care and attention. The volunteers can help take care of the babies and small animals. There are 4 closed interior spaces for this, where they are particularly protected.
The animal protection center is to grow and have space for even more animals in need. Volunteers not only help with animal care but also with construction work, especially if they have manual skills.
Tasks may include:
- Preparation of feed for the animals
- Feeding the animals (2 - 3 times a day)
- Cleaning of animal enclosures
- Intensive care of small animals in the "kindergarten"
- Repair and construction of fences and cages in the care center and animal park
- Planting trees, shrubs and fruit plants
- Checking the fences of the animal park so that the animals cannot escape
- Assisting in the transportation of wildlife from Santa Cruz to the animal sanctuary
The volunteers work approximately 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Particularly motivated volunteers are also encouraged to take on feeding shifts at the weekend.
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
Living in the midst of evergreen nature with the sounds of exotic animals - that's what our volunteers can expect in this animal welfare project in Bolivia. The volunteers live together in cozy, rustic volunteer accommodation, which is located directly on the project site. Up to 14 volunteers can be accommodated here. There is also a spacious common room that serves as a meeting point for the volunteers, where they can play, read and relax together.
Accompanied night trips are organized where the volunteers can observe caimans and various reptiles, nocturnal birds and bats.
Full board (3 meals / 7 days) is included in the program. Internet reception is available at the project location.
The project location is remote, but the stunning nature all around easily makes up for it. The city of Santa Cruz can be reached by car in just over an hour.
We would like to point out that in Latin America, especially in remote areas where some of our projects take place, the mobile phone or internet connection does not always work reliably and quickly.
This fantastic animal welfare project is located about 50 kilometers north of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a pretty Bolivian colonial city in the country's tropical region. The city is about 430 m above sea level and with its 2 million inhabitants is the largest city in the country. Different cultures from the highlands in the west, the Amazon region in the north and east and the Guarani culture in the east meet here and make the city an interesting cultural meeting place.
The city is an excellent example that combines traditional values with a modern lifestyle. The city is synonymous with a tropical climate, South American joie de vivre and an interesting culture.
Traditionally dressed people, old customs, colonial architecture await you in Santa Cruz, as well as modern shopping centers and upscale hotels and restaurants. Santa Cruz is the most modern city in the country. The city is the gateway to unforgettable outdoor activities in Bolivia, including hiking, wildlife spotting, rafting and sandboarding.
The main industry is the processing of agricultural products that are grown in the surrounding area. The climate is divided into the rainy season (November to May with temperatures between 20° and 38° Celsius) and the dry season (June to October with temperatures between 18° and 35° Celsius).
Basic Spanish is recommended. For optimal preparation for your volunteer work in Bolivia, we advise you to take a Spanish course before the program starts. This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the language, culture and mentality.
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us 24/7 in case of emergency.
In addition to the assistance given by our office in Santiago de Chile you will be supported by an on-site volunteer coordinator.
Costs & Services
Our Volunteer Work in the Custody Center for local Wildlife in Bolivia includes:
- Accommodation in shared room
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Airport pick-up in Santa Cruz de la Sierra
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Volunteer Work Placement in Bolivia
- English-speaking in-country support
- Country handbook Bolivia
- Intercultural guideline
- 24/7 Emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
Our tips (experience more + see more = save $$)
Is it difficult for you to decide between the many great projects? You want to see and experience as much as possible during your stay in Latin America? Then build your own itinerary - experience more & see more! Our program combination makes it possible!
All our stay abroad programs can be combined with each other: So, you can combine different volunteer projects in the same country or in different countries, or you mix Working Holiday with volunteer work or Farm Stay with Working Holiday ...and so on …
Your creativity knows no limits. The longer your stay abroad in Latin America, the greater the discount you get from South America Inside. Below you can see how much you can save:
Note: Language courses are excluded from this promotion. These discounts can not be combined with other promotions.
If you need assistance in putting together your personal experience abroad, then please contact us. Our experienced staff will help you to set up your tailor-made stay abroad.