• Volunteer and Adventure
  • Wildlife Conservation

Volunteer with animals abroad

Article by GVI


Posted: December 16, 2022

If you’re looking to add some adventure to your life and make a positive impact on the world at the same time, you could be a great candidate for a program that lets you volunteer with animals abroad. 

This is a great way to see new places, learn about different cultures, and help out some furry (or scaly or feathered) friends. Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to make a difference.

How can I volunteer with animals abroad?

One option is to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, where you can help care for and rehabilitate animals that have been rescued from abusive or neglectful situations. This might involve feeding and watering the animals, cleaning their enclosures, and providing them with enrichment activities to keep them happy and healthy. You might also assist with medical care, such as administering medication or assisting with surgeries.

Another option is to volunteer at a conservation organisation, where you can help protect and preserve animal habitats. This might involve monitoring wildlife populations, conducting research, and working on conservation projects. You might also assist with public education and outreach, helping to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and the challenges facing certain species.

Ethical considerations when you volunteer with animals abroad

There are several ethical considerations to keep in mind when volunteering with animals abroad. Here are a few key points:

Make sure the organisation you are volunteering with has a good reputation and is trustworthy. Do your research and ask for references before committing to a specific organisation.

Be aware of the potential for exploitation or mistreatment of animals. Some organisations may claim to be helping animals, but in reality, they may be using animals for profit or entertainment. Avoid organisations that engage in activities such as animal performances, breeding for the pet trade, or selling animals for their parts.

Respect the animals and their natural behaviours. Avoid activities that may cause harm or stress to the animals, such as handling them inappropriately or forcing them to interact with people.

Be aware of cultural differences and local laws and customs. Different cultures may have different attitudes towards animals, and it’s important to respect and understand these differences. Make sure to follow local laws and regulations, and be sensitive to the cultural context in which you are volunteering.

Consider the long-term impact of your actions. Volunteering with animals can have a positive impact, but it’s important to think about the long-term effects of your actions. For example, if you are working with a conservation organisation, consider whether your actions are sustainable and will have a lasting positive impact on the species and habitat you are working with.

Read: What is sustainable travel?

Volunteer with animals abroad: Top tips

  • Research the species you will be working with. Ask whether the animal volunteering organisation you’ve chosen provides in-depth training, and safety and support.
  • Research the country and region you will be volunteering in. Look for information about the local culture, laws, customs and challenges. This will help you understand the context in which you will be volunteering and prepare for any challenges you may face.
  • Connect with other volunteers. Join online forums, social media groups or mailing lists for those who volunteer with animals abroad. 
  • Look for resources and information about travel logistics, such as visas, vaccinations, insurance and transportation. This will help you set off smoothly. If you’ve chosen a great organisation to volunteer with animals abroad, you should receive support both pre-departure and throughout your trip.


Regardless of where you choose to volunteer with animals abroad, you’ll have the chance to learn new skills and gain valuable experience. You’ll also make new friends, both human and animal, and have the opportunity to explore new places and learn about different cultures. And of course, you’ll be making a real difference in the lives of the animals you work with.

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