The Wildlife Rescue Program
This fabulous project was developed to simply save animal lives. Costa Rica has an abundance of indigenous animal life, home to thousands of species of unique and amazing creatures. Unfortunately animals are vulnerable to the encroaching human world, illegal activity and their natural environments devastated. Animal victims of repossession, loss of habitat and accidents are constantly brought in by local officials and members of the general public from all corners of the country. Many are able to be nursed back to health, and once fully rehabilitated, are released back into their natural habitat. The groups of animals rescued and cared for are mainly primates, birds, and reptiles, and can include Tapirs, Sloths, Toucans, Spider Monkeys, Green and Scarlet Macaws, Turtles, Snakes, Crocodiles and even a few different species of indigenous felines.
Sadly, none of the Rescue Centres in the program receive any ongoing government funding, relying heavily on donations from the public and the generous contribution of volunteers, both national and international, to keep them operational. This program plays a significant role is helping these important rescue centres continue their wonderful work by supplying a willing volunteer labor force to assist them.
Goals of this Project:
- Work to save the lives of vulnerable animals
- Improve the future prospects of the indigenous animals of Costa Rica
- Research the animals of Costa Rica to learn more about their lives and ultimately, how to protect them
- Create an environment that enables different cultures to work together with the goal of saving animal lives.
How You Can Help
Volunteers on this project play an essential role in the care of the rescued animals and their contribution is invaluable. Like many conservation programs, funds are greatly lacking, and a willing volunteer labor force is essential to the success of the projects. A volunteers work day is normally between four - six hours per day, five days per week, and while the work can be physically demanding, it is also tremendously rewarding. Volunteers on this program must have a flexible and positive attitude, as work schedules can and do change according to the needs of each rescue centre.
No two days are ever the same on this project. Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake some of the following tasks:
- Work closely with animals - mostly endangered species
- Clean animal enclosures/compounds
- Feed animals – including bottle feeding infant animals
- Assist in emergency medical treatment when required
- Collect leaves and other resources from the rainforest
- Assist in rescue calls when required
- Maintain paths, signs and other infrastructure
- Build, repair and maintain the animal enclosures.
As with all of our Animal Welfare Programs, physical interaction between humans and wild animals is restricted. Please remember these are rescue centers, not petting zoos.
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to give their time and energy to help protect and conserve the native wildlife of Costa Rica. This project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in animal conservation/zoological studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. However, the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by one of local project leaders. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
This project is available in various locations across Costa Rica. Given the nature of these projects, in most cases they are located in more remote areas and therefore volunteers will spend the majority of their time (including free time) onsite as opportunities to travel offsite may be limited. Where possible though, volunteers can sometimes use free time to travel to a nearby town to explore shops and restaurants, or to explore further afield. Offsite travel options will be discussed with volunteers during their project orientation. This project is a wonderful option for those volunteers who wish to be fully immersed in the astounding nature and beauty that Costa Rica has to offer!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SATURDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in San Jose you will be collected at the airport and taken to a temporary home-stay accommodation near the local team’s office in Santa Barbara de Heredia (just outside San Jose). The following day (Sunday), you will be collected and taken to the local office where you will receive a welcome orientation to help you settle in and find out about your volunteering placement. The local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts and ask any last questions you may have.
You will then be taken to the bus station and placed on the bus to your project site. A representative from the local project team will meet you on arrival and will take you to the accommodations to settle in. On Monday morning, you will be introduced to the project leader so that you can start volunteering. Easy!
- Program Arrival Day: SATURDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica (Code: SJO)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this project will be accommodated either in shared dorm-style rooms within the project grounds or within one of our local volunteer apartments, depending on your designated project assignment. In either case, volunteers will be provided with all the basic amenities, including a bathroom, electricity and hot water for a nice shower at the end of a good day’s work!
At the project site, a large communal area is provided for volunteers and staff, which includes full kitchen facilities, a large dining area, comfortable couches and hammocks to relax on. This is a wonderful environment to volunteer in and past volunteers have raved about how cool it is to be able to live within the rescue center itself!
Volunteers staying within our local volunteer house in Jaco will be provided a shared room (usually shared with one other volunteer). All standard amenities are available in the volunteer apartment, including hot showers and modern ‘western’ bathrooms, and there is even free Wi-Fi! This is a perfect home away from home and a wonderful base for your stay in Costa Rica!
In either case, volunteers are provided 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) at the volunteer house throughout the week. Dinner is generally not included and when possible, volunteers tend to eat out at one of the local cafes or restaurants where you can try cheap and tasty local food. Volunteers are often expected to help with cooking and cleaning up (using a roster-based system), so everyone contributes at meal times – bringing a wonderful ‘family’ feel to this project! Nice!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.