If you are ready for an impactful adventure and if you are an outdoorsy type, then consider a wildlife or environmental conservation volunteer program or internship abroad! All over the world there is a great need for people to help with issues such as deforestation and habitat loss, pollution, animal rescue and care, and much more.
What you can do on a wildlife and conservation program abroad
There's a wide variety of ways that you can get involved with wildlife and conservation volunteering and internships abroad, no matter your background and skills. A few projects that you can take on include:
Protecting sea turtles by tagging nesting turtles, building hatcheries for baby turtles, and patrolling beaches to deter poachers
Conserving rainforests, national parks, and other environments by clearing invasive plants, tracking and recording animal activity, and keeping trails and waterways clean
Rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing wild animals that are sick, injured, or kept illegally as pets
Rescuing, spaying or neutering, and finding forever homes for stray dogs and cats
Promoting environmentally sustainable practices - such as recycling - within the community through workshops and other activities
Qualifications for wildlife and environmental conservation programs
Because of the incredible variety of wildlife and environmental conservation volunteer programs and internships, there is almost no limit to ways that you can get involved regardless of your background and qualifications. As with any volunteer program or internship abroad, it’s important to be realistic about what you can and cannot do: for example, if you aren’t qualified to work in a veterinary clinic at home, you should not expect to work in one abroad (you may have the opportunity to shadow and learn from a professional, however!).
You also should take into account your level of physical fitness as well as your comfort in the outdoors - particularly in uncomfortable environments. Many environmental conservation programs abroad bring you to into the wild - to remote locations such as islands without running water, rainforests with innumerable insects, and desert campsites without electricity.
If you have no experience in wildlife or environmental conservation, basic activities such as clearing trails, greeting visitors at a zoo or animal shelter, or even monitoring sea turtles could be the perfect option for you.
If you’re in school for a related field - such as zoology, marine biology, or veterinary medicine - or if you have experience in related areas, there are lots of ways that you can help with hands-on programs, such as spaying and neutering stray dogs and cats, working directly with wild animals at a sanctuary, or even developing new conservation strategies such as clean water initiatives or waste management programs.
Why you should get involved with wildlife and environmental conservation
As a wildlife or environmental conservation volunteer or intern, there are so many ways that you can make a difference!
Not only will you gain new skills and insights into conservation and animal protection practices in some of the world’s most exotic locations, but you also can provide much-needed support for endangered animals and the habitats they live in. A few ways that our partners engage volunteers and interns include:
Tracking and recording animal activity and numbers in habitats that have been encroached upon by human development, which can directly affect environmental policy locally, nationally, and internationally
Spaying and neutering stray dogs and cats, and if possible, adopting them to loving families, which helps to curb overpopulation and animal abuse
Cleaning waterways and helping communities to develop waste management practices to stop pollution, help to save dwindling animal populations, and have access to clean water
If you would like to make a difference while learning and gaining new skills, check out the many different wildlife and environmental conservation volunteer programs and internships that you can be a part of right here on Abroadly!
Most loved projects
Volunteer for Environmental Conservation at a Cloud Forest Reserve in San Ramon, Costa Rica
Costa Rica · $311/week · 3 ‐ 12 weeks duration
Volunteer with a Monkey Rescue Center in South Africa
South Africa · $579/week · 1 ‐ 12 weeks duration
Volunteer for Environmental Conservation in Valencia, Spain
Spain · $625/week · 2 ‐ 16 weeks duration
Thailand is well known for its elephant sanctuaries, where the volunteer can help rehabilitate elephants and maintain their enclosures. Thailand also has beautiful white-sand beaches that require assistance to preserve their pristine condition.View projects
Costa Rica is known for its coastal and marine conservation programs, which include sea turtle conservation. Volunteers can also participate in dolphin research and conservation.View projects
South Africa is, without a doubt, one of the most popular destinations for wildlife projects, and it's easy to see why. Africa is known for its "Big 5" safari animals: the elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, lion, and rhino. You'll have the opportunity to work with exotic and endangered animals.View projects
Volunteers with an elephant on a wildlife reserve in South Africa.
Planting a tree for a reforestation project in San Juan, Costa Rica.
Cleaning a sea turtle at a sea turtle rehabilitation center.
Two crocodiles at a wildlife reserve in San Juan, Costa Rica.
Volunteers cleaning up the beach in Costa Rica.
One of the monkeys in a monkey sanctuary in South Africa with Plan My Gap Year.
Elephants enjoying their sanctuary in Thailand.
Releasing newly hatched sea turtles on the beaches of Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel.
Volunteer with a rescue dog in Cusco, Peru with Maximo Nivel.
One of the tigers at a wildlife rescue center in Oudtshoorn, South Africa with Cango Wildlife Ranch.