Wildlife shelter support

founded in 2017
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Coordinator | Sergio
Coordinator | Sergio
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Help some of Panama's endangered and vulnerable animal and plant species recover and return to nature
Learn and put into practice many valuable scientific skills
Practise your Spanish and learn more about Panama's culture by being all the time around locals
Understand better how ecosystems work.
Enjoy some of the interesting and beautiful things Panama has to offer: tropical beaches, beautiful landscapes, a very rich and unique culture...
Help endangered animals recover from habitat loss and poaching, so that the species can survive and reincorporate back into the wild. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
As a volunteer, you will be helping at the Ancón Animal Shelter, a refuge for animals that need to recover from poaching or other human actions. Many of these animals are endangered, and really need the help given at the Shelter to be able to go back to nature and perpetuate their species. The Shelter also has many rare and important plant species, many of which have great medicinal, ornamental, or nutritional value. Many of these plants are also endangered native Panamanian plants and also plants that have lived for centuries, which makes this an extremely important area for both local flora and fauna. The center consists of a botanical garden where these plants are found, a wildlife refuge where animals are helped, and also places that can be visited by families, friends, and nature lovers that want to meet and help the species at the center. 
Some of the animals that can be found at the center are jaguars, ocelots, cougars, red foxes , harpy eagles, white-tailed deer, peccaries, raccoons, macaws, great white egrets, tapirs, anteaters, black cats, white-faced capuchins, marmosets, spider monkeys, night monkeys, howler monkeys, american crocodiles, iguanas, ducks, and parrots
As a volunteer, there are four areas in which you can directly contribute. The involvement of the volunteer in each of these areas will depend on their skills and knowledge.

1. Environmental education:
The main focus of this area is spreading awareness about preserving nature and reducing risks to local flora and fauna like poaching or habitat destruction. 
Some of the tasks volunteers may expect to perform are:
  • Management of visitors
  • Giving workshops to local communities about recycling and preserving nature
  • Giving educational workshops at local schools and public centres.
  • Create and teach didactic activities to children so that they can learn more about flora and fauna.

This area consists of directly caring for the animals in their many needs:
Some of the tasks volunteers may expect to perform are:
  • Preparing and distributing food to all animals
  • Cleaning the enclosures of the animals
  • Checking on the animals regularly
  • Supporting at the veterinary clinic, by assisting the professionals that work there.

3. Flora:
Activities within this area go around taking care of the plant life at the park, which is extremely important to the overall functioning of the Shelter.
Some of the tasks that volunteers may expect to perform are:
  • Planting new trees
  • Identifying pests and helping get rid of them
  • Identifying plant species
  • Watering the park
  • Sanitary pruning
  • Moving species from germinators to bags
  • Fertilising 
4. Maintenance:
Here are all the activities related to keeping the shelter and its grounds in good shape. 
Inorganic maintenance requires volunteers to do things like:
  • Collecting inorganic waste
  • Cleaning concrete poles and ditches
  • Scrubbing garbage tanks
Organic maintenance requires volunteers to do things like:
  • Collecting organic waste and disposing of it
  • Collecting leaves and putting them at the base of the trees
  • Cleaning paths and trails
  • Eliminating invasive plants

Typical day

Volunteers work on weekdays (Monday through Friday) from 7:00 to 15:00. Weekends are free for volunteers to go explore and discover all the beautiful places Panama has to offer.  If a volunteer has to be absent from the Shelter on a weekday, they have to inform their project coordinator beforehand. 

Free-time activities

A rich cultural heritage, beautiful mountains, tropical beaches, historical monuments, and a bustling capital city —Panama has it all, directly within your reach to discover while you volunteer in this exciting country. Panama is a rather small country with a high density of remarkable and memorable locations, which is something you can completely take advantage of, through cheap and accessible transportation, ease of visiting, and a welcoming people. 

Some of the sites most enjoyed by our volunteers are: 
  • Panama city: a modern and bustling city, it's a city that may offer you both big malls and modern architecture, as well as the scenic old city (in Casco Viejo), old monuments (such as the Panamá Viejo colonial area), a natural park filled with sloths and ñeques in the middle of the city (Parque Metropolitano), plenty of museums and seaside spots (such as the Amador area). In the city you can also go visit and discover first-hand how the Panama Canal works.
  • Portobelo: a city in the Colón province, it has history that dates centuries back to the colonial era, some very picturesque traditions such as the yearly Cristo Negro festival, and it has direct access to beautiful Caribbean beaches and tropical islands (most famous is Isla Grande). 
  • Bocas del Toro: A province in the northwest of Panama, near Costa Rica; its archipelagos and beaches are very famous among tourists, as they provide near pristine sands, near transparent water, a lot of wildlife you can see in some of its islands, and activities such as partying, scuba, or just swimming in the beach.
  • Guna Yala: An indigenous region, it has 365 islands which all have a fair share of white sand and crystal clear water. The Guna people that inhabit this region have a culture that is very tied in to the Ocean and to life in these islands, so coming here will not only allow you to enjoy the beautiful and picturesque beaches on these islands (each island having something particular, such as Isla Estrella, an island filled with Sea Stars or Isla Perro, an island filled with corals and fish), but also to appreciate a unique culture tied to life in these islands.
  • Valle de Antón: A very famous valley with cool weather and lots of nature, you can go hike the famous mountain of La India Dormida (the sleeping indian woman, tied to a well-known local legend), see lots of native flora and fauna, and also enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Boquete: Located in the Chiriquí province and known as the "Switzerland of America", it's a small yet very beautiful city in the middle of the mountain, known for its tasty coffee, colourful yearly flower festival (although flowers are an important part of the city any time of year), scenic trekking routes, and all the nature around the city.

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 (basic level)
Education Requirements
at High school level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
We ask our volunteers to be completely involved in the project and to be passionate about nature and helping plants and animals.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Adventure Volunteer

Your paid fees will cover:

  • Airport pickup and transfer to the volunteer’s home
  • Accommodation during your volunteering
  • 3 meals during the course of your volunteer program
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the programme
  • Orientation and induction to the program
  • Certificate of weeks completed in your volunteering
  • Accident insurance during your volunteering
  • Civil liability for your activity
  • Receipt from NGO about your program fee
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of programme
  • Volunteer T-Shirt

Airport Pickup at Tocumen International Airport
Volunteers will be picked up at the airport at between 7:00 and 21:30. If the volunteer arrives outside of these hours, they may have to cover some additional fees.
  • Volunteers will stay at a hostel located in the center of Panama City. Some of the areas available to volunteers will be:
    • A bed in a shared room
    • A kitchen where volunteers may prepare lunch and dinner
    • Common bathrooms
    • Area to wash hands
Youth Hostel
Food & Beverages

Breakfast is included within the paid fees and will be provided at the place of accommodation. Volunteers will have a kitchen available to them so that they can cook any other meals that they want to.

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 project is open all year round, except for some holidays like Christmas and Easter. That being said, volunteers may arrive on their day of the week of preference, although we'd recommend volunteers to arrive on either a Friday, a Saturday, or a Sunday, as this makes their induction into the program easier. 

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
$299 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Adventure Volunteer 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 Adventure Volunteer during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Wildlife shelter support

Help endangered animals recover from habitat loss and poaching, so that the species can survive and reincorporate back into the wild.


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