Veterinary Internship

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founded in 1994
Rodolfo
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Coordinator | Rodolfo
Coordinator | Rodolfo
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Work every day very tide to veterinarians and the most amazing creatures of the new tropic like jaguars, sloths, macaws, spider monkeys, and more.
Learn how to rescue, rehabilitate and manage wildlife in one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, Costa Rica.
Make memories you'll never forget during excursions with your fellow participants.
Become more passionate about your major and propel your career with international experience.
Visit beaches, volcanoes, rainforest, and many other natural places in Costa Rica during your free time.
The internship is designed for those who aim to train professionally and gain experience in veterinary medicine for animals like jaguars, sloths, macaws, monkeys and more This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

Natuwa Macaw Sanctuary is a place that provides refuge and protection to the wild animals that have been victimized by human actions such as hunting, removal from their environments, and deforestation. These actions allow species to become vulnerable within their natural habitat, which can cause immense damage to natural ecosystems. The results of these human actions often include a displacement of animals from their natural habitat.

Many of these displaced animals find the care and rehabilitation that they need at the NATUWA Santuario de Lapas. At our sanctuary, the dislocated animals are given a chance to return to their natural habitat. Unfortunately, due to the actions of humans, reintroduction is often quite difficult. This is where you as a volunteer get to help!

As an intern, you play a very important role in the direct care of our animals. Here at NATUWA Santuario de Lapas, we have many animals that require daily care. Volunteers work alongside our workers with feeding, cleaning enclosures, and providing enrichment for all of our animals. Currently, we have six species of macaw, umbrella cockatoos, four species of amazon parrots, seven species of parakeets, Eclectus parrots, spider monkeys, marmoset monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tamarin monkeys, collared peccaries, deer, tapirs, ocelots, and jaguars. The workers that the volunteers will be assisting are from Costa Rica, and most of them only speak Spanish.

Not only do volunteers get to interact with our workers who are from Costa Rica, but our project also has the support of local universities. Costa Rican students come to the sanctuary to do their graduation thesis, business practices (ecotourism), and also schools that send their students to perform a required volunteer work of 300 hours. This offers a great chance for our volunteers to be immersed in the Latin American culture.

NATUWA Santuario de Lapas is located in Aranjuez, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. Aranjuez is a quiet country town with dirt roads. The locals all know about our sanctuary, and they are very friendly! Volunteers are encouraged to bring board games and outdoor toys like footballs, frisbees, etc. About 1km from the sanctuary, there is a grass soccer field that volunteers are welcome to use and play with the locals. There is also a small supermarket located next to the soccer field.

Due to the environment that our volunteers work in, we require pants and rain boots to be worn while working. Rain boots can be brought, or purchased here for around $15 USD. It is also highly recommended that each volunteer bring a mosquito net for a twin-sized bed. Volunteers sleep in housing inside of the sanctuary, and all bedsheets are provided, but volunteers are welcome to bring their own! We also provide and cook all of the food for our volunteers. We expect nothing more than a positive attitude and willingness to work from each of our volunteers!

Typical day

This volunteer project is quite different from other projects around Costa Rica. We never have a shortage of work, in fact, we are almost always looking for more hands to help! We have over 500 animals that need daily care. If you are lack motivation or passion for animal care and conservation, this may not be the project for you (and that's ok!) Our daily schedule can be intense, but the work at the Sanctuary is extremely rewarding! JUST IMAGINE TO BE EVERYDAY TAKING CARE OF SLOTHS, JAGUARS, TAPIR AND MORE AMAZING WILD ANIMALS.

6:00 am-8:00 am - Morning feeding of animals with light supervision after an introduction period (minimum 3 days).

8:00am-8:15am - Breakfast!

8:15 am-10:30 am - Daily tasks (see list below)

10:30 am-10:45 am - Juice break!

10:45 am-12:00md - Daily tasks (see list below)

12:00md-1:00pm - Lunch, WiFi, and nap time!

1:00 pm-3:00 pm -Afternoon feeding of animals with light supervision after an introduction period (minimum 3 days).

After the afternoon feeding, volunteers are free to do whatever they would like for the rest of the day! Dinner is always from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm.

List of Daily Tasks:

Cleaning under animal feeding stations, providing water to animals, collecting and processing animal samples (blood, feces, feathers, etc ), moving animals, laboratory maintenance, feeding baby animals, providing fresh-cut food to the animals in the clinic, and anything else that needs to be done related with improving animal health.

Free-time activities

Every week, volunteers receive one day off to be able to relax and explore surrounding areas, you can coordinate with the Doctor. The staff of the sanctuary can help organize places to visit. Options include the beach, a local river, Puntarenas, Monteverde, etc. Because the COVID-19 volunteers are not allowed to use public transportations only taxis under our recommendations. The cost will be depending on where you will go.

A taxi service can be requested to bring volunteers to the sanctuary. From Puntarenas to the sanctuary, volunteers can expect to pay about $35 for a taxi, and about $115 from the airport (Alajuela) to NATUWA.

Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Diving/
Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking

Require­ments

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 (basic level) or Spanish (basic level)
Education Requirements
at Veterinarians, Veterinary Students, Biologists, and Wildlife Managers. level
Required Documents
CV
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
People who want to learn from a veterinary perspective how to improve the health of a wild animal. Preferably speak English and Spanish. Basic knowledge in the use of software to keep records of animals.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary
The price includes three meals, dorm-style housing. This price does not include public transportation or personal expenses outside of NATUWA.
Accommodation

Currently, volunteer housing is in two separate buildings. The first building is a typical Costa Rica country style house with one room including three bunk beds, a fan, storage space, and windows. The house is typically reserved for long-term volunteers (4 weeks or more). The second building is a modified shipping container with three rooms. Each room of the container includes two bunk beds, a fan, and storage space for personal items. It is advised for volunteers to bring their own mosquito nets. Volunteers are expected to keep their areas clean and respect the property of others.

The bathroom and shower are located in a separate building adjacent to the container. No hot water is available for the showers.

Laundry is typically done by hand, but a laundry machine is available for free. Drying of clothes is done on clotheslines.

WiFi is currently available in the volunteer housing. Also, WiFi is available in the sanctuary gift shop.

Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

The meals are typical dishes of Costa Rica. Almost every meal includes rice, beans, or salad. Juice or coffee is offered for every meal.

Example Breakfast Meals:
1. "Gallo pinto" with egg, plantain, or sausage.
2. Cereal
3. Fruits (watermelon, banana, and papaya).

Example Lunch Meals:
1. Rice and beans with a meat
2. Rice and beans with spaghetti
3. Meat and vegetable soup with rice

Example Dinner Meals:
1. Rice and beans with a meat
2. Hamburger
3. Cold cut sandwich

Note:
It is very important that you inform us if you have any special diets or food allergies.

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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
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 Costa Rica provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Costa Rica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Costa Rica.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

Volunteers may arrive at any time of day, any day of the week, any week of the month, and any month of the year! Transportation from the airport is provided, but can be arranged - in the pandemic is crusial to use our transportation and not a public one!


Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$1,680
5 weeks
$2,205
6 weeks
$2,610
7 weeks
$3,015
8 weeks
$3,420
9 weeks
$3,825
12 weeks (max. stay)
$5,040
Average fees
$420 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary 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 NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary 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 NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary 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 NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Veterinary Internship

The internship is designed for those who aim to train professionally and gain experience in veterinary medicine for animals like jaguars, sloths, macaws, monkeys and more

$420/week

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