Animal Welfare Center Supporter

founded in 2003
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Coordinator | Marion
Coordinator | Marion
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Learn more about the amazing local wildlife in Central America
Help to protect animals in danger of extinction
Explore a country that is famous for its rich biodiversity and dream beaches
Boost your CV with international volunteer experience
Open your horizon while making a life changing experience
Become a volunteer at the Animal Rescue Center in Panama that cares for animals that have fallen victim to the illegal animal trade. Get involved and help local wildlife. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
While volunteering in Panama you will support a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of a green oasis just outside of Panama City. The animal rescue center cares for animals that have fallen victim to the illegal animal trade. In most of the cases, they have been confiscated from customs at the airport or on the black market. Some animals also have been rescued from other sort of captivity (e.g. private households, circus, hotels, etc.) and brought to the station. Sadly, most of the animals are in life-threatening and terrifying conditions.

The animal rescue center lovingly takes care of nursing the animals back to health. The best case scenario is their reintroduction back to the  wild. Unfortunately, this is only possible in rare cases, as many animals would no longer survive in their natrual habitat or would become victims of poaching again. So, about 300 animals have found a safe home in the animal rescue center. In addition to the extensive areas for the rescued animals, there is also a vet station and a visitors' center.

The animal sanctuary has its origins in 1923 when it was a small farm on which the settlement of certain animal species was sought. Back in 1985 is was run as a zoo under a new administration. Since then efforts have been made in order to change this business model and transform the center into what it is today: a safe habitat for wildlife. Today the animal sanctuary is managed by the local government and is considered a natural reserve.

This volunteer work allows you to learn a lot about local flora and fauna of Panama. You can experience the impressive biodiversity up close and help to protect it. The wildlife conservation center borders on a large area of evergreen rainforest. You can even see animals in their natural habitat that live free in the vicinity.

Typical day

When arriving at the animal rescue center volunteers take part in a welcome talk in order to learn the most important facts about the mission of the center and the basic knowledge about the animals.

Volunteers normaly work Monday through Friday, and sometimes sign up for weekend feeding rounds. Work starts in the morning at about 7 am and ends in the early afternoon with a long lunch break (work schedule subject to change). This volunteer project gives you the chance to learn a lot about the breathtaking flora and fauna of Central America. You can experience wild animals up close while helping with the feeding and cleaning as well as the maintenance of the cages and enclosures. You will learn about 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 rare bird species such as the national bird the harpy eagle, 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 exotic wildlife. Even reptiles such as crocodiles and iguanas find refuge in the animal sanctuary. 

The sanctuary is also open to visitors and welcomes guests at the visitor center. In workshops on topics such as environmental education, animal welfare, ecological footprint and recycling and other relevant ecological issues, visitors are made aware of the importance of wildlife conservation and nature protection. Here, too, volunteers have the opportunity to make a contribution to a more conscious use of our natural resources and inhabitants of our earth.

Please note that we do not have any influence on the types or 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.

Free-time activities

The animal rescue center is located in Ancón just about 1 hour from Panama City downtown. In the immediate vicinity you can find the amazing Soberanía National Park, which has breathtaking flora and fauna.

A very popular destination is the Cerro Ancón surrounded by evergreen nature and with fantastic views of the city, the skyline 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.
Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by South America Inside
The volunteer work at the animal rescue center includes:

  • Shared room in Volunteer House
  • Breakfast
  • 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
  • 24/7 emergency number
  • Information about suitable travel insurance
  • Certificate of participation
*Note: Arrival should be on a Saturday or Sunday between 8 am and 8 pm. Otherwise a surcharge may be required (to be paid on site).
Airport Pickup at Tocumen International Airport

*Note: Arrival should be on a Saturday or Sunday between 8 am and 8 pm. Otherwise a surcharge may be required (to be paid on site).

Volunteers stay in a guest house in the center of Panama City. Shared rooms and shared bathrooms are available. In the hostel your breakfast is included. There are also common rooms, as well as a kitchen with a fridge.
Food & Beverages
Breakfast is included.
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City. We assist you to find cheap flights to Panama.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Panama provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Panama you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Panama.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The animal sanctuary receives volunteers year round. New volunteers always start on a monday. The arrival to Panama City should be the sunday or saturday before.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$277 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. South America Inside will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with South America Inside during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if South America Inside cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by South America Inside.

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Animal Welfare Center Supporter

Become a volunteer at the Animal Rescue Center in Panama that cares for animals that have fallen victim to the illegal animal trade. Get involved and help local wildlife.


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