Central America & Caribbean
Caribbean Dominican Republic Costa Rica Mexico More countries
Asia
India Indonesia Bali Nepal Sri Lanka Thailand Chiang Mai More countries
Europe & Oceania
Australia, Fiji, New Zealand Greece Portugal More countries
Western Africa
Gambia Ghana Sierra Leone Togo
Middle Africa
Cameroon
Northern Africa
Egypt Morocco
Southern Africa
Botswana Namibia South Africa Cape Town Swaziland
Eastern Africa
Kenya Madagascar Malawi Mozambique Seychelles South Sudan Tanzania Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe
Middle East
Israel
Southern Asia
India Maldives Nepal Sri Lanka
Eastern Asia
China Mongolia
South East Asia
Cambodia Indonesia Bali Laos Malaysia Borneo Myanmar Philippines Thailand Chiang Mai Vietnam
North America
United States of America
Caribbean
Bahamas Cuba Dominican Republic Grenada Haiti Jamaica Saint Lucia Trinidad and Tobago
Central America
Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama
Latin America
Argentina Bolivia Brazil Amazon Rainforest Chile Colombia Ecuador Galapagos Paraguay Peru Suriname Uruguay Venezuela
Europe
Croatia Finland Germany Greece Hungary Italy Portugal Romania Russian Federation Spain
Oceania
Australia Fiji New Zealand
Humanitarian Aid
Childcare & Daycare Support Medical & Health Orphanages Sports Teaching & Education
Community Services
Building & Construction Community Development Culture & Arts Human & Women's Rights NGO Management & Support
Environment & Conservation
Animals & Wildlife Environmental Protection Farming & Agriculture Marine Conservation Round Trips & Camps
Made for Meaningful Travel
Volunteer World's mission has always been to ensure fairness, transparency and high quality within the meaningful travel industry. Due to its great usability & unique design, media claims Volunteer World to be the "AirBnB" for volunteer abroad opportunities - and we do not disagree on that!
The World's Largest Volunteer Abroad Comparison Platform
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to:
Your Extra Layer of Security
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by your volunteer organisation.
South America Inside

Wildlife Rescue Worker

Flores, Guatemala

Get up-close and personal with exotic animals! Help nurse animals rescued from the jungle back to health and construct new cages for them.

The project

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.

On a typical day volunteers will: Collect food for animals, feed animals, clean animal cages, construct new or bigger cages for the animals, repair cages, clear and maintain walking paths and hiking trails, administer medicine to sick animals, research and monitor animals, maintaining the center's infrastructure, creating enrichment projects

Climate

Average of 28° C (82° F) during the day, 23° C (73° F) during night time, year round. Tropical climate, rainy throughout the year with peaks in June to September.

Recommended packing list

  • Rubber boots
  • comfortable work clothes and work gloves
  • flash light and extra batteries
  • mosquito and sun protection
  • rain jacket

Please note

We recommend to get the following vaccinations: Yellow Fever, Rabies, Tetanus, Hepatitis. Be sure to check in with your doctor for additional advice.

If you are interested in joining this program with your family, please keep in mind that the youngest family member should be at least 14 years old.

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.

Details on Arrival

The program starts all year round and the arrival on project site is from Monday to Friday.

Free-time activities

There are a range of different activities to choose from in your spare time such as hikes around the centre exploring the nature and water sports. In the close-by city there are also iinternet cafes shopping centers. The famous and amazing Maya ruins of Tikal are also not far away!!

Water Sports
Swimming
Climbing
Hiking
Museum/Opera
Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date. Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level) and Spanish (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Education Requirements
at High School level
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 from 08:00 - 16:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at South America Inside are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by South America Inside.
Services by South America Inside

  • Consultation of our experienced staff
  • Translation of application documents
  • Placement in volunteer project
  • Orientation on arrival
  • Orientation kit
  • Local support
  • 24h-Emergency Number
  • Accommodation Volunter House (dormitory)
  • Full board (3 meals per day)
  • Advice on travel insurance
  • Flight booking service (optional and for free)
  • Airport pick up in Flores
  • Airport drop off in Flores 
  • Certificate of participation
  • Application fee

Airport Pickup at Santa Elena Airport

Yes, there is an airport pick up in Flores

Accommodation

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

Yes, full board is provided 3 meals per 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.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Guatemala you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Guatemala.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$720.00
3 weeks
$905.00
4 weeks
$1,090.00
25 weeks (max. stay)
$4,975.00
Average fees
$280.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Flores/Guatemala between 2 weeks and 25 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. South America Inside will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Guatemala.
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.
Americas Central America Guatemala Flores, Flores, Petén Region, Guatemala
zoom="6"

You might be also interested in

Wildlife Rescue Assistant
Alajuela, Costa Rica South America Inside Agency | South America Inside
Help take care of exotic animals that have been rescued and assist with environmental education! Experience the Costa Rican rainforest!
Take Care of Exotic Animals
Villa Tunari, Bolivia South America Inside Agency | South America Inside
Volunteer in the Bolivian rainforest! Climb trees with capuchin monkeys, walk with feral cats, and take care of other exotic wild animals.
Care for Children in Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica South America Inside Agency | South America Inside
Help take care of children in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Organize games and activities for the children and make them smile!
Work in a National Park in Chile
Patagonia, Chile South America Inside Agency | South America Inside
Help preserve and maintain the most famous national park in Chile! Assist at the visitor's center, work in reforestation and environmental education
Work in a Day Care Center
San Jose , Costa Rica South America Inside Agency | South America Inside
Do you love working with children? Help out at a day care center where you can organize activities and be a positive influence for children from low-income families.
Take Care of Parrots
San Jose , Costa Rica South America Inside Agency | South America Inside
Help support parrot conservation efforts in the rainforest by directly interacting with and taking care of Costa Rican parrots!
© Volunteer World