Volunteer Work, Animal Welfare
Ancón, outskirt of Panama City
All year round. Arrival to Panama should be on a Saturday or Sunday.
In our volunteer project in Panama you support a sanctuary for wild animals in the middle of a green oasis outside the capital Panama City. In the animal welfare center, animals that have fallen victim to the illegal animal trade are taken in and pepped up again. In most cases, they have been confiscated from customs on the black market or from other sort of captivity (e.g. private households, circus, hotels, etc.) and brought to the station.
Unfortunately, many of these animals are in life-threatening and absolutely terrifying conditions.
The animal rescue station lovingly takes care of nursing the animals back to health and, in the best of cases, reintroducing them to the wild. Unfortunately, this is only possible in rare cases, as many animals would no longer survive in the wild or would immediately end up in human hands again. Around 300 animals have a safe home in the animal rescue center. In addition to the extensive areas for the rescued animals, the animal welfare center also has a veterinary station.
The animal sanctuary has its origins in 1923 and was opened as a small farm on which the settlement of certain animal species was sought. In 1985, when the administration changed, the place was run as a zoo. Efforts have been made over the years to change this and transform the center into what it is today: a safe habitat for wildlife. Today the animal sanctuary is administered by the government and is considered a natural reserve.
In the project site you will find a great variety of flora and fauna of Panama. You have the chance to experience the impressive biodiversity up close and to help protect it. The animal protection center borders on a large area of evergreen rainforest. Thus, one sees again and again animals in their natural habitat that live free in the vicinity.
After arriving at the animal rescue center, the new volunteers are greeted in a welcome talk and given the most important facts about the project as well as basic knowledge about the animals.
The volunteers usually work Monday through Friday, sometimes signing up for weekend feeding rounds. This volunteer project gives you the chance to learn a lot about the breathtaking flora and fauna of Central America. You will have the opportunity to experience wild animals up close and to help with the preparation and distribution of the feed rations as well as with the cleaning and maintenance of the cages and enclosures. Here you will get to know the eating habits of the individual animal species as well as how they are handled and kept.
In the station you have the opportunity to see Panama's national bird, the harpy eagle. It is one of the largest birds in the world. In addition, the animal rescue center takes care of many other bird species such as the beautiful macaws and other parrots, as well as big cats (e.g. jaguars, pumas, wild cats) and other mammals such as tapirs, wild boars, ocelots, anteaters, tayra (Central American madder species), monkeys, sloths and other wildlife. But also reptiles such as crocodiles and iguanas find refuge in the animal welfare center. Depending on how long you are involved in the volunteer project, you will be able to work even with the wonderful wild cats after a certain training period.
The sanctuary is also open to visitors. In workshops on topics such as environmental education, animal welfare, ecological footprint and recycling as well as other relevant ecological issues, visitors are made aware of the importance of protecting and preserving the unique flora and fauna. Here, too, you have the opportunity to make your contribution to a more conscious use of our natural resources and inhabitants of our earth.
We would like to point out that we do not have any influence on the the types and number of animals at the center and that this information is subject to changes.
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as the number of volunteers, time of year, weather, current needs of the project and self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
Volunteers stay in a guest house in the center of Panama City. Shared rooms and shared bathrooms are available. There are also common rooms, as well as a kitchen with a fridge.
There is WIFI internet available and a locker where you can store your personal valuables.
Note: In Latin America, especially in remote areas where many of our volunteer projects take place, the cellular or internet connection is not always reliable and fast.
The animal sanctuary is located in the municipality of Ancón, west of Panama City, about 1 hour from your accommodation. In the immediate vicinity is the Soberanía National Park, which has breathtaking flora and fauna not far from the metropolis of Panama City.
A very popular destination is the Cerro Ancón, from where you have a fantastic view of the city, the skyline, evergreen nature and the world-famous Panama Canal. Here you will also find the impressive species-rich flora and fauna of Panama right on the doorstep of the capital.
In Panama City itself, volunteers will find an abundance of leisure activities, be it museums, historical sites, a visit to the interesting old town (Casco Antiguo), the many shopping malls, the causeway and, last but not least, a visit to the world-famous Panama Canal.
In our animal and nature conservation projects in Panama, our volunteers get by with English language skills.
However, for optimal cultural integration in the destination country, we advise our volunteers to take part in a Spanish course (optional). This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the local 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 staff you will be supported by our volunteer coordinators located in Panama.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer project in the Animal Welfare Center in Panama includes:
- Shared room in Volunteer House
- Airport pick-up Panama City*
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Volunteer Work Placement in Panama
- English-speaking in-country support
- Handbook Panama
- Intercultural guideline
- 24/7 emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
Application fee: US$ 150
Program fee: US$ 625 (minimum stay 2 weeks)
Each additional week: US$ 140
*Note: Arrival should be on a Saturday or Sunday between 8 am and 8 pm. Otherwise a surcharge of 50 USD may be required (to be paid on site).
Additionally, you can book:
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.