Wildlife Rescue Worker

founded in 2003
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Coordinator | Marion
Coordinator | Marion
¡Reserva con la opción Flex! Elija nuevas fechas de salida o cambie a un programa de voluntariado diferente sin costes adicionales.

Puntos Salientes

Learn more about Guatemala's exotic wildlife
Support one of the most profesional rescue centers of Latin America
Grow as a person while improving your intercultural skills
Visit breathtaking archeological sites of the ancient Mayan culture - TIKAL
Make new friends with volunteer from around the world
Get up-close to exotic animals! Help nurse rescued animals back to health. The animals at the rescue center have been confiscated from illegal poacher and traffickers. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Solteros y solteras

Since the establishment of the Rescue Center in Guatemala, it has branched out into other very necessary activities including environmental education, protected areas management, marine turtle conservation, sustainable community development, eco-tourism and reforestation. Its Environmental Education Department reaches out to over 8,000 children a year throughout the country.

The keystone project is the Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. According to a collaborative agreement with the Guatemalan government, the Center is responsible for the rehabilitation and reintroduction of all confiscated wild animals. The Rescue Center is the largest and most advanced of its kind in Latin America, caring for 400-600 wild animals of 35+ species per year. The Center was formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who were concerned when they saw their precious natural heritage, especially their wildlife, rapidly disappearing before their eyes. It was originally created for a very specific purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.

The centre's main objectives are

  • To strive for the conservation
  • To protect and research wildlife
  • To rescue wild animals from traffickers, rehabilitate and reintroduce them into their natural habitat
  • To support tropical wild animal veterinary research
  • To reproduce and re-introduce animals in danger of extinction
  • To raise awareness among Guatemalans about the need to conserve natural resources through a program of education and information dissemination
  • To develop and promote economic alternatives in rural communities to the unsustainable consumption of natural resources.

The center's main headquarters in Guatemala City offers training to teachers from the surrounding towns and villages in order to develop environmental education activities in local schools. In 2002, it inaugurated its Environmental Education and Interpretation Center on the grounds of the Rescue Center with the intent to teach local students and visiting tourists about the evils of illegally trading pets, while at the same time ensuring that the animals in the Rescue Center are not needlessly exposed to humans. Nearly all animals at the center have been seized from smugglers and are very young and need constant care and attention.

Your work

Most of the animals arriving at the Rescue Center have been confiscated from illegal poachers and traffickers who leave them in very poor conditions due to malnutrition, stress, and injury. Too often, while in this weakened state, the animals are also exposed to pathogens not commonly encountered in the wild, such as those of humans and domestic species. For this reason, all animals arriving at the Rescue Center are placed in quarantine for a period of at least 45 days. During this period, their overall condition is assessed, including their health and behavioral status, while restoring nutrition. Working in quarantine requires vigilant attention to the animals and their needs, to ensure they are cleaned, fed, watered, etc. Small details are often extremely important. Both the volunteers and the full-time workers take part in the care of the animals at the Center under the supervision of the Rescue Center veterinarians and volunteer coordinator.

Typical day

The volunteer work in Guatemala consists of cage cleaning, food preparation, and monitoring the health of the animals. Many animals arrive at the Center with health problems associated with the trauma of their capture and transport and need continual observation and medical attention. On the other hand, the Center's staff tries to avoid the animals becoming "imprinted" on humans and ask volunteers not to handle animals more than necessary as most will be released back into the wild. Released animals accustomed to humans have less of a chance of surviving in the wild. Animals that are kept in captivity have many needs in order to remain physically and mentally healthy. These needs can be separated into four basic categories: environment, nutrition, behavior, and care. Each enclosure should be checked regularly to make sure each of these fours needs are addressed while avoiding contact with the animals. These animals are wild and it is important to keep them that way.

There are certain responsibilities that volunteers at the Rescue Center have and everyone is expected to pull their own weight. Work begins early in the morning with the cleaning of cages and feeding of the animals. The animals do not work on human schedules; rather, they follow their own internal clock which insists that they eat early in the day. The time for your rest and relaxation is later in the day when the temperature and humidity demands a rest. Volunteers love to spend this time of the day at the lake sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing.

In addition to the regular daily feeding and caring of the animals, there are special on-going activities in which you are expected to participate as needed. These activities include: constructing cages or extra buildings, maintaining trails, gathering foods for the animals, and researching the wild diets of the animals. Depending on your experience and skills, you may also be asked to help with veterinary medical treatment and operations as well as in the periodic blood and feces samples taken to monitor the health of the animals.

Perhaps the most satisfying work carried out at the Center is the animal release 2 to 4 times per year. You may assist in identifying appropriate release sites (with sufficient water and food and few nearby human settlements), constructing release platforms, and monitoring released animals. Volunteers are expected to become a willing part of the Rescue Center team and to take an integral part in the day-to-day operations of the Center.

The Center in Guatemala is truly a magical place that holds natural beauty within and outside the cages! There is plenty of time at night and during those hot afternoon siestas to think, and listen to the mysterious jungle noises that call for danger or initiate territorial squabbles. The beautiful creatures that surround you are all part of the experience. One only has to stop, look, and listen for a moment to realize that saving the jungles of our planet is truly something worth being a part of.

Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.

Free-time activities

There are a range of different activities to choose from in your spare time such as hikes through the jungle around the center, exploring the rich nature, visit local communities, do water sports at the lake Peten-Itz, visit the tourist town of Flores. Last but not least, you have to visit the close-by Maya ruins of Tikal!

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) or Spanish (basic level)
Education Requirements
at High School level
Required Documents
CV, Volunteer Questionnaire and Covid19 Vaccine
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No special skills required but you should definitively be an animal lover and not fear exotic animals. You should be able to live a simple life, isolated from civilization, surrounded by nature and animals.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Servicios incluidos

Services by South America Inside

  1. Accommodation Volunteer House (dormitory)
  2. Full-board (3 meals per day)
  3. Airport pick-up in Flores
  4. Airport drop-off in Flores
  5. Consultation of our experienced staff
  6. Translation of application documents
  7. Placement in volunteer project
  8. Orientation on arrival
  9. Orientation kit
  10. Local support
  11. 24/7 Emergency Number
  12. Advice on travel insurance
  13. Certificate of participation

Airport Pickup at Santa Elena Airport

Pick-up in the closest town Flores.


The Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Guatemala is situated on a 45 hectare tract of land on a lake. It’s a 10 minute boat ride from the touristy center of Flores and close to the world famous Mayan archeological site of Tikal. It is comprised of a quarantine area, a veterinary hospital, three large rehabilitation enclosures, a large flight cage, kitchen, dining and a workshop area, volunteer houses, employee housing, and a large floating dock. The animal cages and enclosures are scattered throughout the jungle in order to reduce the stress of the animals.

At the Rescue Center, volunteers live in a spacious two story wooden building situated in a beautiful tropical forest with comfortable wooden bunk beds, modern showers, flush toilet facilities, and U.S. 110V electrical outlets. Volunteers eat and socialize at a separate spacious kitchen and dining room where there is a very nice floating dock for late afternoon swims. There is internet service at the Rescue Center for a slight fee and in Flores at internet cafes.

Dorm Room Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

Full-board is provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

Internet Access
Limited 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 Santa Elena Airport (FRS) in Flores. We assist you to find cheap flights to Guatemala.
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 Guatemala provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Guatemala you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Guatemala.

Fechas y Costos


Details on arrival

The volunteer work can be joined throughout the year. The start and end date can be set flexible, according to your availability and travel plans. Ask our experienced staff to coordinate your participation in this meaningfull volunteer project.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$371 /week

Tenga en cuenta que los honorarios arriba indicados son estimados. South America Inside le hará saber el precio final durante el proceso de solicitud.
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.

Por qué reservar con Volunteer World

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Wildlife Rescue Worker

Get up-close to exotic animals! Help nurse rescued animals back to health. The animals at the rescue center have been confiscated from illegal poacher and traffickers.


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